A Snapshot of Johnny Floyd
Interview Date: Spring 2015
Gas was 10 cents a gallon. The Yankees beat the Cubs in four games to win the World Series. And Benny Goodman was the king of swing. It was 1938, the year that Johnny Floyd was born. Floyd represents southwest Georgia’s Congressional District 2 on the State Transportation Board, including the cities of Albany, Americus, Bainbridge, portions of Columbus and Macon, and his home of Cordele. The family man, businessman, civic leader, and former state legislator recently shared a snapshot of himself.
Early on Johnny Floyd was born and raised in Ridgeland, South Carolina – in the Lowcountry between Savannah and Hilton Head. We were very family-oriented, lived on the farm. Dad was in the timber business, mother ran the family grocery store. I had three sisters. We were quite a large extended family. My dad was one of 21 kids - my grandfather and his brother married two sisters and they had 37 kids between them! After completing Forest Ranger School at the University of Florida, Floyd moved to Fargo (Ga) where he worked for the St. Regis Paper Company. He graduated from Georgia Southwestern University in Americus. I met my wife Judy – the former Judy Jones of LaGrange – when I worked for the paper company. Her family was in the timber business and I bought lumber from them.
On to Cordele The Floyds moved to Cordele in 1970. Their two sons and five grandchildren live nearby. He is president of Floyd Timber Company, a forestry products company specializing in timber sales. I’ve been managing and cutting timberlands for 46 years. Floyd was elected to the Georgia Legislature in 1989. He served 19 years representing Crisp, Dooly, Pulaski, and part of Houston counties. Southwest Georgia has been good to my family and to me. We went there as total strangers with no family connection. The people really supported us.
Floyd on Floyd
Describe yourself in three words or phrases.
Humble. Willing to listen. Faith in the system.
What would we be surprised to learn about you?
How much I try to help others.
What is your view on the current political climate?
We should support people. The people govern the country.
Taking home the bread In the State House of Representatives, Floyd learned about appropriations and bonds, agriculture and Georgia’s transportation issues. Trying to take the bread home to the constituents who elected me was extremely rewarding. With Gov. Joe Frank Harris, we built an 18-hole golf course at Georgia Veterans State Park (in Cordele). With Gov. Zell Miller, we built a conference center there. Under Gov. Roy Barnes we added a hotel to support the conference center. And with Gov. Sonny Purdue, we put in the marina at Lake Blackshear.
Onboard In 2008, Floyd was elected by legislators to the State Transportation Board. He has served as chairman and now chairs the Legislative Committee, and is on the Intermodal, P3 and Gateways committees. Transportation is the hub for economic development. It attracts industry and creates jobs. We see too much of one person in one car. We need to move people by other means - carpool, public transit, commuter rail. We must improve connectivity so people from Athens can work in Atlanta.
Giving back Floyd appreciates his fellow board members, the people at GDOT and his constituents. I serve on the STB to help give back to the areas that have helped me over the years. GDOT leadership and staff are conscientious. Gov. Deal is outstanding to work with. We’ve got a great team - all working together to move transportation forward in Georgia.
Getting out of the mud Floyd’s district is in River Valley, a region that approved the one percent Transportation Investment Act (TIA) sales tax. The first major result was the completion of US 27, which is on a GRIP. corridor. However, there is still a basic need for paving. In Crisp County, rural mail carriers and school buses drive on some 200 miles of dirt roads. TIA will help, but the money is short to go around. We have a need for getting out of the mud.
Not all business Floyd enjoys reading, watching sports and NBC News, and spending time with Bubba, his three-year-old white lab. Bubba is a real live wire! Judy has a lap dog. We’re animal lovers. I’ve read all of the Kennedy books—they had the most interesting and fascinating lives—as well as Jimmy and Rosalind Carter, and Zell Miller. I go to church every Sunday and attend Sunday school. I like sports. My teams? The Falcons, Braves, and Georgia Bulldogs!