Mike Johnson (Louisiana politician)

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Mike Johnson
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 Pending special election on April 29, 2017
Personal details
Born James Michael Johnson
January 1972
Place of birth missing
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Kelly Lary Johnson
Children Four children
Parents Jeanne and Patrick Johnson
Residence Benton, Bossier Parish
Louisiana, USA
Alma mater Captain Shreve High School

Louisiana State University

Louisiana State University Law Center
Occupation Lawyer
Religion Southern Baptist
Website http://www.mikejohnsonlouisiana.com/

James Michael "Mike" Johnson (born January 1972)[1] is a constitutional attorney from Benton, Louisiana, who is a Republican Congressman representing Louisiana's 4th congressional district. He previously was a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives for District 8 in northern Bossier Parish.

Johnson was unopposed in the special election called for February 21, 2015 to select a successor to Jeff R. Thompson, a Republican who resigned the legislative seat to become a judge of the Louisiana 26th Judicial District Court for Bossier and Webster parishes. The election was cancelled when only Johnson filed for the seat.[2] He was re-elected in the September 10, 2015 election, again running unopposed.[3]

On February 10, 2016, Johnson announced his candidacy for Louisiana's 4th congressional district seat being vacated by his fellow Republican, John C. Fleming of Minden, who is instead seeking the United States Senate position being vacated by Republican David Vitter.

Early life

Johnson is the oldest son of Jeanne and Patrick Johnson, a firefighter who was critically burned and disabled in the line of duty. He was reared in Shreveport, where he graduated from Captain Shreve High School. He received an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, at which 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]

Commentator

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

Legal career

Johnson is a trustee of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission within the Southern Baptist Convention. A partner in the Kitchens Law Firm in Benton, Johnson has been involved in the effort to construct a law school in Shreveport for Louisiana College, the Baptist-affiliated institution based in Pineville in Rapides Parish in Central Louisiana. If constructed, the law institute will be named for Paul Pressler, a conservative retired judge from Houston, Texas, long active in family-values issues.[4]

Johnson is senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, which defines itself as “a non-profit legal defense and advocacy organization dedicated to religious liberty, traditional family values, and the value and sanctity of life.”[2] He is also chief counsel of the non-profit Freedom Guard, which defends religious liberties and traditional American values.[5]

He is co-counsel for the defendants in the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Louisiana state ban on same-sex marriage. 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.[2]

Political career

Before it was learned that he had no opponent, Johnson was endorsed for the state House by Senator Vitter and Representative Fleming.[6] Johnson also picked up the endorsement of the political action committee of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry. Johnson opposes the Common Core State Standards Initiative but has promised to act as an honest broker on the issue.[7]

Johnson stated that his lack of an opponent was "really a blessing and honor. We're humbled by having been given this opportunity."[5]

He was re-elected to a full term on October 24, 2015, again running without opposition.[3]

Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act

In April 2015, Johnson announced that he had filed his proposed Marriage and Conscience Act to protect the freedom of individuals and businesses in regard to religious convictions. Johnson defined his goal as "protecting individuals and entities against the state's ability to discriminate against them based on their views on marriage or other controversial issues." He denied that his legislation was based on a similar law passed a few days earlier in Indiana.[8]

Johnson said the Marriage and Conscience Act is:

a call for freedom, civility and tolerance. The truth is, I have been giving the subject a great deal of thought (partly because that’s what a guy who has been defending the cause of religious liberty in federal courts for almost two decades naturally does). And, after much deliberation, I have decided to introduce a bill today that aims to help defuse a growing cultural conflict, promote a balanced approach to this important question, and safeguard the sacred right of conscience for every single citizen.

In spite of the speculation that you may have heard in advance, this legislation — the Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act - is actually a very simple proposal. It is a bill that seeks to do just one important thing: prevent adverse treatment by the State of any person or entity on the basis of the views they may hold with regard to marriage. Under this law, the State would be specifically prohibited from denying or withholding from a person or entity such things that they would otherwise be entitled to — like a state license, certification, accreditation, employment, state contracts, state benefits, or tax deductions — solely because of that person or entity's views about the institution of marriage.[9]

Then Governor Bobby Jindal pledged to sign Johnson's bill into law if it passed both houses of the legislature, and wrote an editorial in The New York Times defending his views.[10]

On May 19, 2015, the House Civil Law and Procedure Committee voted 10-2 to table Johnson's measure, effectively ending the chances of the bill to become law.[11] Only Johnson's Republican colleague Ray Garofalo supported the bill; the rest of the committee, which included both Democrats and Republicans, opposed it.[11] After the Johnson bill was tabled, Jindal said that he wold issue an executive order to prohibit the state "from denying or revoking a tax exemption, tax deduction, contract, cooperative agreement, loan, professional license, certification, accreditation, or employment on the basis the person acts in accordance with a religious belief that marriage is between one man and one woman."[12] Representative Johnson said that he supported the executive order but would re-introduce the measure in 2016.

In March 2016, Johnson was part of the minority which opposed the one-cent increase in the state sales tax. State representatives voted 76 to 28 for the tax hike, with one vacancy. The tax is a portion of the large revenue-raising measures pushed by new Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards.[13] A House and Senate conference committee subsequently trimmed 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. Even the sale of Bibles and religious publications and Girl Scout cookies are now subject to the tax.[14]

Other memberships

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

Personal life

Johnson and his wife, the former Kelly Lary (born October 1973), have two sons and two daughters. She is a teacher and like her husband a public lecturer on family-related issues.[4] Johnson has formerly resided in Sibley in Webster Parish, and in Allen in Collin County, Texas.[15]

Pending congressional race

Johnson hosted the annual Shreveport-Bossier City pro-life "Life March" on January 23, 2016, which attracted six thousand activists. The previous event in 2015 had drawn seven thousand.[16] In his announcement of candidacy, Johnson said that for two decade he has been "fighting to defend the Constitution and our Louisiana values in the courts, in the court of public opinion, and most recently in the legislature. I think my record speaks for itself, and I’m ready to use that same resolve and common sense to take on the Washington, D.C. establishment."[17]

Johnson will face his state legislative colleague, African-American Democrat Patrick O. Jefferson of Arcadia in Bienville Parish, along with three other Republicans: Trey Baucum, a Shreveport cardiologist,[18] state Representative Jim Morris of Caddo Parish, and Shreveport City Council member Oliver Geoffrey Jenkins (born July 1966).[19]

References

  1. "James Johnson, January 1972". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved March 30, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Associated Press (September 11, 2015). "A look at the La. lawmakers re-elected without opposition". The Washington Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 "About Mike". mikejohnsonlouisiana.com. Retrieved March 30, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 Alexandria Burris (January 16, 2015). "Looming session leaves little wiggle room for Johnson". The Shreveport Times. Retrieved March 30, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Mike Johnson Grabs LABI's NORTHPAC Endorsement". thehayride.com. Retrieved March 30, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Maya Lau (April 1, 2015). "Bossier legislator mulls religious freedom bill". The Shreveport Times in The Monroe News-Star. Retrieved April 2, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Rep. Mike Johnson Calls His Marriage and Conscience Act A Call For "Freedom and Tolerance"". KEEL (AM). Retrieved April 7, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Bobby Jindal gives his take on gay marriage in New York Times editorial". The New York Times. Retrieved April 23, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. 11.0 11.1 Emily Lane (May 19, 2015). "Louisiana's religious freedom bill effectively defeated in committee". New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved May 19, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "State House of Representatives Vote to Increase Sales Tax". KEEL. February 25, 2016. Retrieved March 28, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "See the list: Examples of goods, services that'll now be taxed in Louisiana". The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved April 1, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "James M. Johnson in Benton, Louisiana". intelius.com. Retrieved March 30, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Greg Hilburn (January 6, 2016). "4th District field inches toward gate". The Shreveport Times. Retrieved January 7, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. John Walton. "State Rep. Mike Johnson announces his run for the 4th Congressional District seat". arklatexhomepage.com. Retrieved February 10, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "State Rep. Johnson to run for 4th Congressional seat". KALB-TV. Retrieved February 10, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. KEEL Radio, February 10, 2016
Louisiana House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jeff R. Thompson
Louisiana State Representative for
District 8 (Bossier Parish)

James Michael "Mike" Johnson
2015-2017

Succeeded by
Vacant
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John C. Fleming
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
for Louisiana's 4th congressional district

2017–present
Incumbent