|Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference|
January 3, 2021
|Chair of the Republican Study Committee|
January 3, 2019
|Jim Banks (deisgnate)|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Louisiana's 4th district
January 3, 2017
|Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives|
from the 8th district
February 22, 2015 - January 3, 2017
|Jeff R. Thompson|
James Michael Johnson
January 30, 1972
Shreveport, Louisiana, U.S.
|Education||Louisiana State University (BA, JD)|
James Michael Johnson (born January 30, 1972) is an American attorney, politician, and former talk radio host serving as the U.S. Representative for Louisiana's 4th congressional district. First elected in 2016, he is also the chairman of the House Republican Study Committee, a coalition of socially- and fiscally-conservative members of the larger House Republican Conference.
From 2015 to 2017, Johnson served as a representative in the Louisiana House of Representatives for District 8 in Bossier Parish. During his tenure he proposed the Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act, a bill that was ultimately tabled.
Johnson was born in Shreveport, the oldest of four children of Jeanne Johnson and the late James Patrick Johnson, a firefighter who founded the nonprofit organization, the Percy R. Johnson Burn Foundation, after having been critically burned and disabled in the line of duty. Johnson has two brothers, Chris and Josh, and a sister, Laura.
Johnson graduated from Captain Shreve High School in Shreveport. He received an undergraduate degree in business administration from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, where he was a member of the Order of Omega honor society and Kappa Sigma Fraternity. He holds a Juris Doctor from Louisiana State University Law Center, and worked as constitutional attorney in Benton, in Bossier Parish seat of government located north of Bossier City, Louisiana.
Prior to his election to Congress, Johnson was also a partner in the Kitchens Law Firm and a senior attorney and national media spokesman for the Alliance Defense Fund, now known as Alliance Defending Freedom, which describes itself as "a non-profit legal defense and advocacy organization dedicated to religious liberty, traditional family values, and the value and sanctity of life." Johnson was also formerly chief counsel of the non-profit law firm Freedom Guard.
Johnson served as co-counsel for the state defendants in the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Louisiana state ban on same-sex marriage in both 2004 and again in 2015. He was driving home from a hearing on the matter before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans when he learned from a radio broadcast that he would run unopposed in his bid to succeed Thompson.
Johnson ran unopposed in the special election called for February 21, 2015 to select a successor to Jeff R. Thompson, a Republican who had resigned to become a judge in Louisiana's 26th Judicial District Court. The election was cancelled when only Johnson filed for the seat. Johnson was re-elected on October 24, 2015, again running without opposition.
Johnson was endorsed by United States Senator David Vitter and United States Representative John Fleming, as well as the political action committee of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry.
In April 2015, Johnson proposed a bill titled the Marriage and Conscience Act, similar in content to Indiana's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed a few days earlier, though Johnson denied that his legislation was based on the Indiana law.
Johnson's Marriage and Conscience Act would have eliminated the state of Louisiana's ability to withhold a "state license, certification, accreditation, employment, state contracts, state benefits, or tax deductions" from a person or entity based on their views on the institution of marriage. Critics denounced the bill as an attempt to protect people who discriminate against same-sex married couples.
Then-Governor Bobby Jindal pledged to sign Johnson's bill into law if it passed both houses of the legislature.IBM and other employers in the region expressed their opposition to the bill, including concerns about the hiring difficulties it would likely produce. Other politicians also objected, including fellow Republican, Baton Rouge Metro Councilman John Delgado, who described Johnson as a "despicable bigot of the highest order" for proposing the bill.
On May 19, 2015, the House Civil Law and Procedure Committee voted 10-2 to table the bill, effectively ending its chances to become law. Both Republicans and Democrats voted against the bill; other than Johnson, only Republican Ray Garofalo voted for it. After the bill was tabled, Governor Jindal said that he would issue an executive order to enforce its intent. Johnson planned to reintroduce his own bill in 2016.
In March 2016, Johnson opposed a one-penny increase in the state sales tax proposed to help address Louisiana's $940 million budget deficit. The one-penny increase was approved by a vote of 76 to 27, with one vacancy. A House and Senate conference committee subsequently changed the duration of the tax from five years, as recommended by the state Senate to twenty-seven months, effective from April 1, 2016 to June 30, 2018.
On February 10, 2016, Johnson announced his candidacy for the 4th congressional district seat held for eight years by John Fleming, who was running, ultimately unsuccessfully, for the United States Senate seat vacated by David Vitter.
In a runoff election held on December 10, 2016, Johnson defeated the Shreveport Democratic attorney Marshall Jones, 87,369 votes (65 percent) to 46,578 (35 percent). He won all fifteen parishes in the district, with 78 percent in Bossier Parish but only 52 percent in his native neighboring Caddo Parish, also the home of opponent Jones. Eliminated in the November 8 primary election were Republicans Trey Baucum, a Shreveport cardiologist, former State Senator Elbert Guillory of Opelousas, Shreveport attorney Rick John, Oliver Geoffrey Jenkins (born July 1966), a member of the Shreveport City Council.
In 2018, Johnson won his second term in the U.S. House, having led a three-candidate field with 139,307 votes (64 percent). Democrat Ryan Trundle trailed with 72,923 votes (34 percent).
Jeffrey Hayden Haynes, a great-grandson of the late Webster Parish Sheriff O. H. Haynes Jr., is Johnson's chief of staff. He was formerly an aide to former U.S. Senator David Vitter. In 2018, Haynes was named campaign manager in Johnson's bid for re-election.
In December 2017, Johnson voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. After voting for the act, Johnson described the economy as "stunted" and as a "burden" on Americans. Additionally, "The importance of this moment cannot be overstated. With the first comprehensive tax reform in 31 years, we will dramatically strengthen the U.S. economy and restore economic mobility and opportunity for hardworking individuals and families all across this country."
Johnson supported President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to prohibit immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries, stating "This is not an effort to ban any religion, but rather an effort to adequately protect our homeland. We live in a dangerous world, and this important measure will help us balance freedom and security."
Johnson opposes abortion and supports legislation to prohibit abortions after week 20 of a pregnancy.
In April 2018, Johnson joined Republican state Attorney General Jeff Landry and Christian actor Kirk Cameron to argue under the First Amendment for student-led prayer and religious expression in public schools. Johnson and Landry appeared, with Cameron who spoke on a promotional video, at prayer rallies at the First Baptist Church of Minden and Bossier Parish Community College in Bossier City. The gatherings were organized by area pastors, including Brad Jurkovich of First Baptist Bossier, in response to a lawsuit filed in February against the Bossier Parish School Board and the superintendent, Scott Smith. The board and the superintendent are accused of permitting teachers to incorporate various aspects of Christianity in their class presentations.
Johnson is married to Kelly Lary (born October 1973). Lary is a teacher and lecturer on family-related issues. They have two sons and two daughters. Johnson has formerly resided in Sibley in Webster Parish, and in Allen in Collin County, Texas.
|Louisiana House of Representatives|
Jeff R. Thompson
| Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives
from the 8th district
|U.S. House of Representatives|
John C. Fleming
| Member of the U.S. Representative
for Louisiana's 4th congressional district
|Party political offices|
| Chair of the Republican Study Committee
| Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference
Taking office 2021
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Representatives by seniority