Mike Johnson (Louisiana politician)

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Mike Johnson
Mike Johnson official photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 4th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Preceded by John Fleming
Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives
from the 8th district
In office
February 22, 2015 – January 3, 2017
Preceded by Jeff R. Thompson
Succeeded by Raymond Crews
Chairman of the
Republican Study Committee
Assumed office
January 3, 2019
Preceded by Mark Walker
Personal details
Born James Michael Johnson
(1972-01-30) January 30, 1972 (age 46)
Shreveport, Louisiana, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Kelly Lary Johnson
Children 4
Education Louisiana State University (BA, JD)
Website House website

James Michael Johnson (born January 30, 1972) is the U.S. Representative for Louisiana's 4th congressional district, first elected in 2016. He is the incoming chairman of the conservative House Republican Study Committee.[1]

From 2015 to 2017, Johnson served as a representative in the Louisiana House of Representatives for District 8 in Bossier Parish. During his tenure he proposed the Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act, a conservative bill that was ultimately tabled.

Early life and education

Johnson was born in Shreveport,[2] the oldest of four children of Jeanne Johnson and the late James Patrick Johnson, a firefighter who founded the nonprofit organization, the Percy R. Johnson Burn Foundation, after having been critically burned and disabled in the line of duty. Johnson has two brothers, Chris and Josh, and a sister, Laura.[3]

Johnson graduated from Captain Shreve High School in Shreveport. He received an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, where he was a member of the Order of Omega honor society and Kappa Sigma fraternity. He holds a Juris Doctor from Louisiana State University Law Center,[4] and worked as constitutional attorney in Benton, in Bossier Parish seat of government located north of Bossier City, Louisiana.

Johnson is a member of the Council for National Policy, the National Rifle Association, the American Bar Association, and the Louisiana Family Forum.[4]

Commentator

Johnson has served as a talk radio host and conservative columnist. He has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor, Fox and Friends, Good Morning America, The Today Show, and National Public Radio.[4]

Legal career

Prior to his election to Congress, Johnson was also a partner in the Kitchens Law Firm and a senior attorney and national media spokesman for the Alliance Defense Fund, now known as Alliance Defending Freedom, which describes itself as "a non-profit legal defense and advocacy organization dedicated to religious liberty, traditional family values, and the value and sanctity of life."[5] Johnson was also formerly chief counsel of the non-profit law firm Freedom Guard.[6]

Johnson served as co-counsel for the state defendants in the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Louisiana state ban on same-sex marriage in both 2004 and again in 2015. He was driving home from a hearing on the matter before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans when he learned from a radio broadcast that he would run unopposed in his bid to succeed Thompson.[5]

Johnson served as a trustee of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission within the Southern Baptist Convention from 2004-2012.

Louisiana House of Representatives

Johnson ran unopposed in the special election called for February 21, 2015 to select a successor to Jeff R. Thompson, a Republican who had resigned to become a judge in Louisiana's 26th Judicial District Court. The election was cancelled when only Johnson filed for the seat.[5] He was re-elected in the September 10, 2015 election, again running unopposed.[7]

Johnson was endorsed by United States Senator David Vitter and United States Representative John Fleming,[8] as well as the political action committee of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry.

Johnson was re-elected to a full term on October 24, 2015, again running without opposition.[7]

Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act

In April 2015, Johnson proposed a bill titled the Marriage and Conscience Act, similar in content to Indiana's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed a few days earlier, though Johnson denied that his legislation was based on the Indiana law.[9]

Johnson's Marriage and Conscience Act would have eliminated the state of Louisiana's ability to withhold a "state license, certification, accreditation, employment, state contracts, state benefits, or tax deductions" from a person or entity based on their views on the institution of marriage.[10] Critics denounced the bill as an attempt to protect people who discriminate against same-sex married couples.[11]

Then-Governor Bobby Jindal pledged to sign Johnson's bill into law if it passed both houses of the legislature.[12] IBM and other employers in the region expressed their opposition to the bill, including concerns about the hiring difficulties it would likely produce.[13] Other politicians also objected, including fellow Republican, Baton Rouge Metro Councilman John Delgado, who described Johnson as a "despicable bigot of the highest order" for proposing the bill.[13]

On May 19, 2015, the House Civil Law and Procedure Committee voted 10-2 to table the bill, effectively ending its chances to become law.[14] Both Republicans and Democrats voted against the bill; other than Johnson, only Republican Ray Garofalo voted for it.[14] After the bill was tabled, Governor Jindal said that he would issue an executive order to enforce its intent.[15] Johnson planned to reintroduce his own bill in 2016.[citation needed]

Other

In March 2016, Johnson opposed a one-penny increase in the state sales tax proposed to help address Louisiana's $940 million budget deficit. The one-penny increase was approved by a vote of 76 to 27, with one vacancy.[16] A House and Senate conference committee subsequently changed the duration of the tax from five years, as recommended by the state Senate to twenty-seven months, effective from April 1, 2016 to June 30, 2018.[citation needed]

In 2015 and 2016 Johnson led a pro-life "Life March" in Shreveport-Bossier City.[17]

Johnson opposed the Common Core State Standards Initiative.[18]

United States House of Representatives

2016 campaign

On February 10, 2016, Johnson announced his candidacy for the 4th congressional district seat held for eight years by John Fleming, who was running, ultimately unsuccessfully, for the United States Senate seat vacated by David Vitter.

In a runoff election held on December 10, 2016, Johnson defeated the Shreveport Democratic attorney Marshall Jones, 87,369 votes (65 percent) to 46,578 (35 percent). He won all fifteen parishes in the district, with 78 percent in Bossier Parish but only 52 percent in his native neighboring Caddo Parish, also the home of opponent Jones.[19] Eliminated in the November 8 primary election were Republicans Trey Baucum, a Shreveport cardiologist,[20] former State Senator Elbert Guillory of Opelousas, Shreveport attorney Rick John,[21] Oliver Geoffrey Jenkins (born July 1966), a member of the Shreveport City Council.[22][23]

2018 reelection

In 2018, Johnson won his second term in the U.S. House, having led a three-candidate field with 139,307 votes (64 percent). Democrat Ryan Trundle trailed with 72,923 votes (34 percent).[24]

Tenure

Johnson was sworn into office on January 3, 2017. He is a member of the Republican Study Committee.[25]

Jeffrey Hayden Haynes, a great-grandson of the late Webster Parish Sheriff O. H. Haynes Jr.,[26] is Johnson's chief of staff. He was formerly an aide to former U.S. Senator David Vitter.[27] In 2018, Haynes was named campaign manager in Johnson's bid for re-election.

Johnson voted in favor of the American Health Care Act of 2017.[28]

In December 2017, Johnson voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.[29] After voting for the act, Johnson described the economy as "stunted" and as a "burden" on Americans. Additionally, "The importance of this moment cannot be overstated. With the first comprehensive tax reform in 31 years, we will dramatically strengthen the U.S. economy and restore economic mobility and opportunity for hardworking individuals and families all across this country."[30]

Committee assignments

Political positions

Johnson receiving the True Blue award from FRC President Tony Perkins in 2018

Immigration

Johnson supported President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to curtail for ninety days immigration until better screening methods are devised. He stated that "This is not an effort to ban any religion, but rather an effort to adequately protect our homeland. We live in a dangerous world, and this important measure will help us balance freedom and security."[31]

Abortion

Johnson opposes late term abortions.[32]

Cannabis

Johnson believes medical marijuana is a "gateway drug" for other drugs.[33]

LGBT

Johnson opposed the results of Obergefell vs. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage across the US. He believes the decision should be state by state, not made by the Supreme Court.[34]

School prayer

In April 2018, Johnson joined Republican state Attorney General Jeff Landry and Christian actor Kirk Cameron to argue under the First Amendment for student-led prayer and religious expression in public schools. Johnson and Landry appeared, with Cameron who spoke on a promotional video, at prayer rallies at the First Baptist Church of Minden and Bossier Parish Community College in Bossier City. The gatherings were organized by area pastors, including Brad Jurkovich of First Baptist Bossier, in response to a lawsuit filed in February against the Bossier Parish School Board and the superintendent, Scott Smith. The board and the superintendent are accused of permitting teachers to incorporate various aspects of Christianity in their class presentations.[35]

Personal life

Johnson is married to Kelly Lary Johnson (born October 1973). Kelly is a teacher and lecturer on family-related issues.[4] They have two sons and two daughters. Johnson has formerly resided in Sibley in Webster Parish, and in Allen in Collin County, Texas.[36]

References

  1. ^ Greg Hilburn (November 16, 2018). "Mike Johnson wins post on GOP launching pad". The Monroe News-Star. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
  2. ^ "J. Michael Johnson - Lawyer in Bossier City, Louisiana (LA) Bossier County - legaldirectories.com". www.legaldirectories.com.
  3. ^ "James Patrick Johnson". The Shreveport Times. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d "About Mike". mikejohnsonlouisiana.com. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c Nancy Cook (January 10, 2015). "Conservative Republican walks into Louisiana Legislature's District 8 seat unopposed". KTAL-TV (NBC): arklatexhomepage.com. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
  6. ^ Alexandria Burris (January 16, 2015). "Looming session leaves little wiggle room for Johnson". The Shreveport Times. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Associated Press (September 11, 2015). "A look at the La. lawmakers re-elected without opposition". The Washington Times.
  8. ^ "Mike Johnson announces bid for Louisiana House seat: Candidacy endorsed by U.S. Senator Vitter, Congressman John Fleming, others". mikejohnsonlouisiana.com. August 29, 2014. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
  9. ^ Maya Lau (April 1, 2015). "Bossier legislator mulls religious freedom bill". The Shreveport Times in The Monroe News-Star. Retrieved April 2, 2015.
  10. ^ "Rep. Mike Johnson Calls His Marriage and Conscience Act A Call For "Freedom and Tolerance"". KEEL (AM). Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  11. ^ Epps, Garrett. "What Will Bobby Jindal's 'Marriage and Conscience Order' Actually Do?". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2017-02-19.
  12. ^ "Bobby Jindal gives his take on gay marriage in New York Times editorial". The New York Times. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
  13. ^ a b "Louisiana religious freedom bill author a 'despicable bigot,' Baton Rouge council member says". NOLA.com. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  14. ^ a b Emily Lane (May 19, 2015). "Louisiana's religious freedom bill effectively defeated in committee". New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved May 19, 2015.
  15. ^ Emily Lane (May 19, 2015). "Bobby Jindal plans to issue an executive order enforcing intent of religious freedom bill". New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved May 19, 2015.
  16. ^ "State House of Representatives Vote to Increase Sales Tax". KEEL. February 25, 2016. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  17. ^ Greg Hilburn (January 6, 2016). "4th District field inches toward gate". The Shreveport Times. Retrieved January 7, 2016.
  18. ^ "Mike Johnson Grabs LABI's NORTHPAC Endorsement". thehayride.com. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
  19. ^ "Election Returns". Louisiana Secretary of State. December 10, 2016. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  20. ^ "State Rep. Johnson to run for 4th Congressional seat". KALB-TV. Retrieved February 10, 2016.
  21. ^ Greg Hilburn (February 22, 2016). "Shreveport attorney enters 4th District race". The Shreveport Times. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  22. ^ KEEL Radio, February 10, 2016
  23. ^ "Election Returns". Louisiana Secretary of State. November 8, 2016. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  24. ^ "Election Returns". Louisiana Secretary of State. November 6, 2018. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  25. ^ "Member List". Republican Study Committee. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  26. ^ "Obituary of Stanton Allen Haynes (brother of Jeffrey Hayden Haynes)". genlookups.com. May 8, 2015. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
  27. ^ Greg Hilburn (December 22, 2016). "Hayden Haynes leads US Rep.-elect Johnson's congressional staff". The Monroe News-Star. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
  28. ^ "FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 256".
  29. ^ Almukhtar, Sarah (19 December 2017). "How Each House Member Voted on the Tax Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  30. ^ "Johnson on tax reform: 'Republicans have fulfilled our promise' - Bossier Press-Tribune". bossierpress.com. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  31. ^ Blake, Aaron. "Coffman, Gardner join Republicans against President Trump's travel ban; here's where the rest stand". Denver Post. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  32. ^ "La. Representatives give their take on abortion". KALB. Associated Press. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  33. ^ "Medical marijuana bill gets approval from the House". Louisiana Radio Network. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  34. ^ Dickerson, Seth. "Mike Johnson: Wants to 'make government work again'". shreveporttimes.com. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  35. ^ Nick Wooten (April 6, 2018). "Actor Kirk Cameron makes promo video for Bossier, Webster prayer rallies". The Shreveport Times. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  36. ^ "James M. Johnson in Benton, Louisiana". intelius.com. Retrieved March 30, 2015.

External links

Louisiana House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jeff R. Thompson
Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives
from the 8th district

2015–2017
Succeeded by
Raymond Crews
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
John C. Fleming
Member of the U.S. Representative
for Louisiana's 4th congressional district

2017–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Mark Walker
Chair of the Republican Study Committee
Designate

Taking office 2019
Incumbent
Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Pramila Jayapal
United States Representatives by seniority
396th
Succeeded by
Ro Khanna
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