Newly elected Judge Jim Johnson of Denton grew up as the fourth of six children in a working-class home. His mom washed dishes at his elementary school, and his father was the local grocery store butcher.

“We were pretty poor, and we knew it, but it was OK. We got by,” recalled Johnson, who in January assumed the bench in Denton County’s 431st District Court, after a hard-fought election season in 2020. “I worked hard, and wanted to go to college. I was the first in the family to be able to go to school.”