May 20, 2022
THOMASVILLE — As he makes away across the far-flung 2nd District, Wayne Johnson’s truck is grabbing attention.
But he wants his message to go beyond his eye-catching paint job.
Johnson, who served in the U.S. Department of Education under President Donald Trump, has “Stop The Stupid In Washington” emblazoned on his pickup.
The key, Johnson said, is to identify solutions and marshal resources to match up against the solutions.
He also has looked at some of the challenges the government presents to people on a daily basis. A college student can get a $250,000 loan to pay for an education, but a farmer has to pledge their land as collateral when getting a loan to dig irrigation.
“We can talk about the price of everything from saltines to diesel,” Johnson said, but the key is to identify the root cause and address the problem. To help fight the effects of inflation, he said people in the district need the right kinds of job producing the right kind of income.
To that end, Johnson says there are ways and means among the federal funding stream to allow people to obtain occupational certification.
Johnson was the chief strategy and transformation officer and chief operating officer for the Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid. Student loan debt is a problem, he said, and he does not want to see the federal government canceling the obligations from the student borrowers.
Johnson holds a bachelor’s degree and a PhD from Mercer University, and a master’s degree from Emory University. He’s also a former Army officer, having been stationed in Alaska with the late Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf and also having served with the late Gen. Colin Powell.
He’s been a businessman, too, creating a biodiesel refinery out of a soybean field.
But it’s his knowledge of how things work in Washington and his connection to the district that help separate him from the rest of the candidates seeking the Republican nomination to take on Sanford Bishop in November.
Johnson announced his candidacy last November. There are six candidates running to take the Republican nomination.
“I wanted to make sure there was a really good qualified candidate from the district, who lived in the district, who was invested in the district to be in the race,” he said. “As a seasoned, thoughtful, successful businessman who does look at numbers. I was pleased to see some others entered the race.”
With such a crowded field, Johnson does not expect any of the six to claim a clear primary win. He sees the race headed for a runoff.
Whoever wins, Johnson believes the 2nd District will swing to a Republican.
“We Republicans are in a good place right now,” he said. “I feel very positive the Republican nominee will prevail over Sanford.”
Johnson has castigated one of his fellow GOP nominees, calling into question Jeremy Hunt’s residency and his motivation for running.
“I was beyond surprised and highly disappointed to see we had a candidate who was hand-picked by some folks in Washington,” Johnson said, “and powered up by them and powered up by some inappropriate appearances on FOX. and announces he is the candidate we need in middle and southwest Georgia.”
Johnson said D.C. Republicans have scoured the country looking for candidates to back and finding districts in which they can run.
“I am angry at Washington,” Johnson said. “I am angry at a splinter group of GOP power brokers who decided to set up a new rules of engagement for their own purpose. It just so happens these are the ones Jeremy points to as his endorsers.
“He is a very engaging young man who has never paid taxes or lived in this district, who has been promoted up by people in Washington who have an agenda that they want somebody they can control.”
Johnson said the voters in the 2nd District won’t be swayed by the Washington Republicans’ machinations.
“Hey, we have the ability to figure out when a dog isn’t hunting right,” he said.
Johnson also pledged to open a Congressional office in Thomasville and if elected, he will serve no more than four terms in the U.S. House.
“The second thing I intend to do is establish an advisory group for the congressman,” he said. “Part of the reason is that I’m staying close and staying plugged in and those group members can see how the political process works, if they one day want to run for Congress.”
Johnson said he can “hit the ground running” in Washington if elected, and said he will not need to have a chairmanship or top role in the hierarchy in order to get things through and done.
“You can get an amazing amount done never seeking to be a chairman or never seeking to be a minority leader,” he said.
A House member working through the various committees’ staffs can get a lot accomplished, Johnson said, and that leads to being an expert in a field — and that leads to having others pay attention. It was a lesson he said he learned from Sens. Saxby Chambliss, Johnny Isakson and Sam Nunn.
“You become the expert on something really, really important, everyone else will follow you,” he said.
Though Johnson is optimistic about Republicans taking the 2nd District seat in the fall, he said the eventual nominee will have to court conservative Democrats. And above all, Republicans have to turn out to vote. Numbers from early voting suggest that many Republicans are casting ballots in the May primary.
“If the Republicans expect to win,” Johnson said, “they’ve got to get out and vote. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it.”
Source: Thomasville Times-Enterprise