Ahead of the Nov. 6 elections, northwest Louisiana’s representative in Washington DC, Mike Johnson, said Americans are experiencing an “extraordinary time in the nation’s politics.”
Although Johnson (LA-04) is running for re-election in November, he looked ahead to when the dust settles in January 2019.
He noted that Louisiana is in position to have a large say in the direction of the country.
“Louisiana is poised to have extraordinary clout in the next Congress,” Johnson said. “Rep. Steve Scalise [LA-01] is a candidate for Speaker of the House. As I talk to individual members, he’s universally respected. I would think he has a good shot at being Speaker and if not, he moves up to the No. 2 position in the House.”
“We’ve never had a Speaker of the House in Louisiana’s history and it’s been a generation since we had a majority leader. It would be huge for our state,” he added.
He noted that there are roughly 42 retirements planned in Congress, which means all the current Louisiana committee members would move up the pecking order. Johnson is up for chairman of the Republican Study Committee. The largest conservative caucus in Congress.
“It’s possible that come January, you’ve got three Louisiana guys commanding the policy of the nation,” Johnson said. “We haven’t had this kind of influence from our state in a very long time.”
He said it is the result of Republican Congressmen keeping their heads down and noses to the grindstone to “do the hard work” and move up in influence in Washington.
“I think after November that we’ll maintain a majority in the House. If that happens, we can continue our work.”
He said GOP members would “double down” on tax reform, continue regulatory reform, and continue to rebuild and sustain the nation’s military.
The last of which would have a local impact with Barksdale Air Force Base.
“I was just on the phone with our 4 Star General [Gen. Timothy Ray] and the nuclear weapons storage facility is on track. There’s a lot of good going on at Barksdale,” Johnson said.
When looking at his home state, the Bossier native is concerned about the declining population of Louisiana. He said the state’s finances being in constant flux has hurt the ability to attract major employers, and fund higher education. Both of which means Louisiana’s talent is leaving for neighboring states.
“If we do not get our house in order, we’ll continue to have an out-migration problem and it will hurt us in the census,” Johnson said.
He noted that the state’s politics isn’t a federal issue, but when it affects Louisiana’s potential of losing population, and therefore a Congressional seat, he feels compelled to speak up.
“The reason why we’re not feeling the full effect of tax and regulatory reform is because of our political climate. We’re leaving a lot on the table,” Johnson noted.
He pointed out that as important as the Nov. 6 election is, the 2019 vote will be even more crucial to the future of Louisiana.
“Next fall is for all the marbles in Louisiana,” Johnson forecasted. “We have got to make serious structural change. We cannot continue on the path we are. It’s going to get to the point where we’ll be left behind based on economic development.”
He said in order to help his district, he would set out to try and educated local voters on how to make the best informed choice for them.
“Once we get past this election cycle and [if I’m re-elected], next year I’m going to do what I can to educate and basically give basics Civics and Econ 101,” Johnson pledged.