Earlier this month, we introduced you to Minnesotan Lacy Johnson, the self-described "computer technologist businessman entrepreneur" who is challenging Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) for her congressional seat in November. He told Townhall that he's ready to expose her "socialist" agenda and make a case for his conservative one.
Like many inspired candidates, Johnson has an acronym for his platform. He plans to focus on the pillars of Family, Education, Economics, and Spirituality. Or as he likes to call it, F.E.E.S.
Johnson places family first, he explained, because it is "the basis of most communities, and we have to make that a number one priority." The best way to encourage families? Get government out of the way. Once people "stop depending on government" and take on a bit more "personal responsibility," he said, good things happen.
His family plan will include some tax reform items, including working to remove the marriage penalty that burdens some couples with a higher tax rate if they decide to file jointly. Reducing or containing college costs and loan debt, and supporting initiatives to rebuild two-parent families are his other key agenda items.
Those latter features overlap a bit into the middle “E’s.” To improve education, Johnson says, you have to "close the achievement gap." He plans to do that by promoting school choice - including the use of vouchers, and state-funded scholarships that pay for students to attend private school.
"Don't let Washington dictate," he said, insisting students' education needs to be in local hands. The influence of teachers' unions, however, will take a hit. Johnson and his team plan to "drastically reduce or eliminate the influence of teacher unions in underperforming communities" and "tie pay and other incentives to performance."
Rep. Omar recently endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for president, whose lofty free tuition plan is one of the 2020 Democrats' most infamous proposals. It would eliminate tuition at four-year public colleges and universities for households earning $125,000 or less. Their version of "free" will actually cost Americans $47 billion a year, per reports. The federal government would cover 67 percent of the cost while states would cover the other 33 percent.
That brings us to the second "E," economics. The businessman seeks to create and increase family and community wealth through the development of free enterprise-based, globally competitive enterprises in economically challenged communities. That means "drastically reducing the number of government and non-profit solutions which keep communities poor and dependent."
"We need to take advantage of the American free enterprise system," Johnson said. "We need to compete in the global market."
Only when entrepreneurs are encouraged to create wealth and pass it on to their children can they begin 'break the cycle of generational poverty and dependency,'" Johnson added.
He wants to set visible goals. For potential homeowners, for instance, he can help with something as simple as improving their credit score.
Personal responsibility was a running theme of our conversations with Johnson these past two weeks, and again he took a moment to sound off on societal stereotypes.
"I’m trying to get people to stop using the easy excuse of how unfair America is, how racist America is," he explained. "None of it’s true."
The final letter of F.E.E.S., spirituality, is not about religion.
"It's about understanding that we’re all part of a whole," Johnson explained.
It is "an unselfish appreciation that we are part of a whole like family, city, state, and country. That we have obligations and responsibilities to others, to strive to live a moral, ethical, and law-obeying life."
He adds: "We have a responsibility to other people around us."
Johnson's pro-family, pro-entrepreneurial, and pro-education spirit has caught the GOP's attention twice now. He agreed when the party asked him to run against State Rep. Raymond Dehn in Minnesota District 59B last year. And, when they again approached him this year to run against Rep. Omar, who is proving to be a "pro-socialist," "pro-anti-Semitic" representative for Minnesota, Johnson had an "extra incentive" to say yes.