Jeff Johnson sets sights on governor’s race

by Amanda Schwarze

The pioneer

Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson hopes to become Minnesota’s next governor.

Jeff Johnson
Jeff Johnson

Johnson, a Republican of Plymouth, made the announcement at the Hamel Community Center May 5. Currently, he serves District 7 on the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners. District 7 includes the cities of Champlin, Corcoran, Dayton, Greenfield, Independence, Loretto, Maple Grove, Maple Plain, Medina, Minnetrista, southern Mound, Rogers, St. Bonifacius, Hanover, northwest Plymouth and Rockford.

Surrounded by family including his wife Sondi, sons Thor and Rolf, his parents, sister and brother-in-law, Johnson began his announcement by saying it was “with great excitement and humility” that he was running for governor.

Minnesota, Johnson said, is the “greatest place to live in America,” but he added that he was concerned about the direction it was heading. He said he wanted to correct that.

“My vision is of a Minnesota  where politicians understand that taxpayers work really, really hard for their money and we spend it as carefully and responsibly as if it were coming out of our own pocket rather than someone else’s,” he said.

“It’s a state where the principles of economic freedom and individual liberty and equal opportunity have replaced what we’re seeing come out of St. Paul right now, which is really an obsession with government involvement in absolutely every part of our lives. It’s a vision of a state where productivity and success are celebrated and rewarded rather than punished and where a truly great education is available to every single kid in the state regardless of their race or how poor or rich they are or what neighborhood they happen to live in. It’s a vision where the less fortunate and the most vulnerable among us are safe and they’re secure and we don’t just always herd them into some government program that might not work because it makes us feel good, but we actually treat them with dignity and figure out ways to give them access to the same free market economy that we all walk it. It’s a state where the big debate in St. Paul isn’t about whether to increase taxes on clothing versus haircuts versus, God forbid, beer, but how we unleash that creative innovative power of every individual Minnesotan to grow our economy.”

Johnson also told the crowd that if elected he will have an “absolutely unrelenting focus” on the issues of jobs, education and making government work.

He has said that he will seek and abide by the endorsement of those at the Republican Party of Minnesota State Convention.

“There will be several Republicans in this race,” Johnson said. “They’re all friends of mine and they would all make good governors.”

One reason why he would make the best candidate, he said, is that he can win in a race against current Governor Mark Dayton. Johnson said his roots in greater Minnesota (he was born and raised in Detroit Lakes), his current electoral base in Hennepin County and his experience in fund raising would combine to make him a threat to Dayton.

Johnson also said that if elected he will be able to accomplish his goals in office. He pointed to his six years serving in the Minnesota House of Representatives and the bills he authored that were turned into law.

“I will do more than talk and seek headlines,” he noted in a press release. “I will get results.”

Johnson’s announcement speech is available for viewing on his website