My Principles

Some of the core principles that guide my thinking on government and the issues:

  • I believe that government can only exercise authority granted to it in the Constitution.
  • I believe that people make better decisions about how to spend the money they earn than government.
  • I support school choice and the empowerment of parents to control the education of their children.
  • I believe the right to keep and bear arms for personal protection is a fundamental individual right.
  • I am pro-life.
  • My Christian faith guides every decision I make.

Campaign Issues

Taxes & Spending

Government’s appetite for overspending in Minnesota goes hand in hand with the desire to push government programs and regulations into every corner of our lives.

I believe we need to cut taxes and reduce the size and power of government. We’ll start by cutting income taxes, the death tax and license tab fees, ending the taxation of social security benefits and instituting an Automatic Taxpayer Refund when government over-taxes Minnesotans.

Taxes and spending issues are not only economic, they are moral. Empowering Minnesotans starts with us deciding how our hard-earned money is spent--not government. Reducing spending levels and increasing take-home pay will result in a badly needed explosion of economic activity, growth, and opportunity.


All Minnesotans deserve an economy where hard work is the only limit to success. The way to achieve this is to create an environment that encourages our small-business owners and embraces both the jobs of today and tomorrow. Our government has failed miserably to do this and instead has been a direct obstacle--this changes on Day One of the Johnson Administration.

Whether it’s taxes, regulations or a government attitude of helping rather than antagonizing job creators, I will work every day as your governor to make Minnesota’s business climate competitive with those states that surround us.   

Government Reform

Our state desperately needs a fundamental change in the size, scope, and philosophy of government. In short, this means taking power away from government and giving it back to the people of Minnesota. We must--and will--create a mindset in government that it is a servant of the people, not the other way around. This will have a lasting, positive impact on Minnesota for generations.

Achieving this fundamental change will be the overriding mission of the Johnson Administration.  As a start, I will push for term limits, initiate a top-to-bottom audit of the programs Minnesota taxpayers fund and veto any omnibus bill that does not adhere to the single-subject rule.  And most importantly, we will rein in arrogant state agencies like the DNR, MPCA and every other bureaucracy that doesn't understand they exist to serve us, not control us.

K-12 Education

I believe that parents, not the state or the education unions, are the best decision-makers when it comes to the education of a child.  We must empower parents to make those decisions and allow teachers the freedom to teach without unending interference from politicians.

To begin this process, we will radically simplify our K-12 education funding formula, start to eliminate some of the many state mandates on our schools and teachers, and do everything possible to allow real education choice for every parent in Minnesota. As governor, I will confront head-on the political indoctrination of our kids in some of our public schools.

The Constitution

The state and federal constitutions are not lists of suggestions, but the concrete operating rules for our government. I view the Constitution as my job description as governor.


Between the skyrocketing cost of health insurance and the declining lack of access in Greater Minnesota, nearly every Minnesota family has been increasingly impacted. MNsure has been a complete disaster and has proven that new approaches are desperately needed.

I will work to return the power over health care to patients and citizens, and take advantage of federal waivers allowing Minnesota to abandon the provisions of Obamacare that have limited choice and increased costs. I will also start negotiating with other Midwestern states to increase competition by creating an interstate compact to sell and buy insurance across state lines.


Transportation is the lifeblood of Minnesota’s economy and also directly impacts quality of life. By employing common sense and long-term planning there is no reason we can’t achieve great roads and solve our broader transportation issues without breaking the bank.

The Johnson Administration will put a moratorium on light rail and focus transit money on a first-class bus system.  In the Metro, I’ll base my transportation funding decisions on projects that relieve congestion and provide mobility to the citizens of Minnesota.


There is no more important issue than protecting innocent life. Not only is this a moral issue, recent breakthroughs in science and technology have made even more clear that we must protect the life of the unborn. I am Pro-Life and believe in the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.


Though hard to believe, the DFL candidates for governor support the concept of "sanctuary cities" and, in fact, want to make Minnesota a "sanctuary state." This would mean that local law enforcement would be prohibited from working with federal agents tasked with enforcing our country's immigration laws. I will not allow Minnesota to become a sanctuary state and will work with the legislature to ban sanctuary cities in Minnesota.

The federal refugee resettlement program in Minnesota has become very divisive and problematic. Minnesota has been extremely open to refugees in recent years: Minnesota has 2% of the nation's population, but 13% of the nation's refugees.  In addition, in the most recent two-year period, Minnesota's secondary refugee migration (those who came first to another state but moved to Minnesota) was greater than all 49 other states combined.  And the cost to communities has been very substantial.  For these reasons I have called for an IMMEDIATE STOP to the refugee resettlement program in Minnesota. As governor, I will meet with President Trump and Attorney General Sessions to explain this situation in detail and inform them that our participation in the program will end until we tell them otherwise.

Public Safety

The role of government in our lives should be as limited as possible, but providing for the public safety of all Minnesotans is one of the most important jobs of government.

While I have always supported alternatives to incarceration for low-level, nonviolent offenders and believe strongly in providing second chances for those who make mistakes, we have one of the lowest incarceration rates in the country and violent criminals must be locked up and very violent criminals must be locked up for a very long time. Under my administration, Minnesota will be a safe place for law-abiding citizens and a terrible place for violent criminals.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

Minnesota’s economy was built on agriculture and our natural resources.

That’s not to say that farming, logging and mining are the only parts of the economy that matter, but they provide the rock-solid foundation upon which many other industries have been built.

Yet government is doing little but getting in the way of people who work the land. Government permitting too often harasses farmers, miners lose jobs because of bureaucrats and regulations and loggers often are treated as pariahs.

I grew up in rural Minnesota. I know what a blessing our natural resources are, and that the people whose livelihoods depend upon using them are better stewards of the land than any bureaucrat in St. Paul.

I believe we can have copper/nickel mining in Northern Minnesota AND protect our environment. I'll be an advocate as governor to move these projects forward.

Second Amendment

The U.S. Constitution is unequivocal: “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Self-defense is a fundamental individual right and creating new “gun control” restrictions on law-abiding citizens will only leave guns in the hands of criminals.

Metropolitan Council

I’m on the ground fighting the Met Council every single day on the Hennepin County Board. The damage this organization does is not hypothetical to me and I will work aggressively to eliminate it entirely and start over with a limited regional body (without taxing authority) to coordinate sewer and water service lines and an integrated bus system.  

We cannot “tinker” with the Met Council.  It must go.

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