Johnson, the son of an Air Force officer, moved to Birmingham with his family in 1973. He graduated from John Carroll Catholic High School and earned his bachelor's degree in chemistry at Spring Hill College in Mobile. In the summer of 1980, before his senior year, Johnson flew to Pakistan, intending to support the mujahideen resistance against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. His offer was dismissed, however, and he returned to Mobile. He spent some time studying at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham, but devoted most of the next decade visiting developing countries, where his interest in politics was piqued.
Johnson worked on Bob Riley's congressional staff and had a leadership role on Riley's gubernatorial campaigns in 2002 and 2006. Riley appointed him to the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs in 2003. He stepped down in order to run for the Republican nomination for Governor of Alabama in 2010. As a candidate he supported a conservative Christian agenda, including opposition to gay marriage, but also argued for the legalization of gambling. He finished 5th, with 1.7% of the votes, in a race that sent Bradley Byrne and Robert Bentley to a run-off.
In 2011 Johnson moved to Christchurch, New Zealand as a manager for Ceres NZ, managing disaster recovery efforts following a major earthquake in that region. While there, he advertised his services as a sperm donor to women needing help getting pregnant. According to the New Zealand Herald, they have confirmed that he provided services to at least ten women, at least three of whom became pregnant. Many of the women he has provided sperm to were in lesbian relationships.
In 2012 Johnson left his wife, the former Kathy Hale, and her three children in Prattville and returned to New Zealand to apply for permanent residency.
|Birmingham City Council District 2 Representative
- "Bill Johnson, 2010 Alabama Republican gubernatorial candidate" (January 29, 2010) Our Prattville
- Talbot, George (December 11, 2011) "Alabama politician Bill Johnson caught in sperm donation scandal in New Zealand." Birmingham News