Former State Sen. Debbie Johnson, R-Ham Lake, has been elected chair of the board of directors of Minnesota Citizens for an Independent Judiciary at the inaugural meeting of the organization’s board. Forest Lake area businessman and civic leader Benjamin Hedberg was named president and executive director. Hedberg, a 1996 graduate of Forest Lake High School, and a former political consultant and senate staffer, also serves as a member of the board of directors, and is the former corporate secretary, for the Legislative Evaluation Assembly of Minnesota, a 39-year-old civic nonprofit corporation. MNCIJ is a nonpartisan, nonprofit corporation founded in 2012 under the provisions of the Minnesota Nonprofit Corporation Act and organized for the purpose of promoting public awareness, understanding of, and confidence in Minnesota’s elected judiciary. Johnson represented the residents of northern Anoka County in the Senate from 2001-2011. The public can learn more about the 150 year history of Minnesota’s popularly elected courts at: www.mncij.org, or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.