Grantland Johnson was born and raised in Sacramento. He was awarded a bachelors degree in government from California State University, Sacramento in 1974. He also holds honorary doctorate degrees from Sac State and Golden Gate University (Doctor of Humane Letters).
Mr. Johnson currently serves as Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, appointed to that position by Gov. Gray Davis in January 1999. As secretary, Mr. Johnson serves as a member of the governor's Cabinet and as his chief advisor on the myriad issues regarding public health, mental health, social services, and rehabilitative services that are the responsibilities of the Agency's 12 departments and one board.
Mr. Johnson is responsible to a vast constituency that includes the state's most vulnerable populations as well as the vast professional communities of health care and social services providers. Mr. Johnson manages an agency that has more than 34,000 employees and a combined annual state and federal budget of $61 billion. He is responsible for the gamut of policy and program decisions that affect millions of Californians, ranging from affordable health coverage for children and disabled adults and teenage pregnancy prevention to services for California's aging and developmentally disabled populations to bioterrorism preparedness and clean drinking water. He serves on numerous boards and commissions.
Prior to assuming his current position, Mr. Johnson had already distinguished himself as a dedicated and committed servant of the people of California. In 1993, he was appointed by federal Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala as regional director for Region IX of the Department of Health and Human Services under the Clinton Administration. He also served seven years on the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors following his election in 1987, and prior to that, spent three years (1983 - 1986) as an elected member of the Sacramento City Council where he also focused on issues associated with health care and community building.
"My mission in life is to promote the right and to create opportunities for every Californian to attain a decent standard of living, have access to the best possible education and health care, to live in safe communities with a quality environment, and, most of all, to live free of racial and gender barriers. The time that I spent at "Sac State" was instrumental in molding my ideas and aspirations in life. The professors and instructors were concerned not only with the development of the mind, but character as well. With the support of mentors like my grandmother, the late Mayor of Sacramento Joe Serna, Jr., San Francisco Mayor and former California State Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, and many others too numerous to mention, I emerged an idealistic person, but with the requisite skills, abilities, and knowledge to proudly stand where I am today."