The Missouri Times is speaking to new lawmakers this session. Get to know more of the “Freshmen to Watch” here.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Even in the Missouri statehouse, freshman Rep. Michael Johnson is still taking notes and studying — including his colleagues across the aisle.
“I am always taking notes. I take notes on how my Republican counterparts speak, the verbiage they use — that’s how much I am into studying,” Johnson said. “I want to know when I’m sitting down with someone how I can speak to them better and what to say to them to be more effective.”
Johnson describes HD 23 as both the richest and the poorest district and said his district has more history than any other in the Kansas City area. HD 23 lies within Jackson County. Johnson was born and raised in HD 23 and said he would not serve any other district.
“To put it like this, if I lived in any other district I probably wouldn’t have run. That’s how passionate I am about my district,” Johnson told The Missouri Times. “That way you know it’s genuine, I wouldn’t even have done this anywhere else.”
Prior to serving in office, Johnson served in the U.S. Army. He is also an insurance agent at his own agency, Johnson Hazley Agency, LLC.
Johnson beat his Democratic opponent in the primary by a 10 percent margin. Johnson’s long-term goal is to create a skill trade center large enough to congregate all of the youth within his district under one brick and mortar.
“I also want this center to be informative,” Johnson said. “This is an information hub that you can come and find out about any grant, about any assistance, about any scholarship, about anything that you need to know to make you more successful so you can be a staple in that community.”
Johnson is sponsoring three bills: HB 774, HB 813, and HB 1220. Of these three bills, Johnson believes HB 774, which would provide high-speed internet access to underserved areas, is the most important.
“In today’s time and age, you can’t do anything without [the internet],” Johnson said. “I think it’s important because you can’t get a job without it right now, you can’t see your doctor without it right now, you can’t see your elders that are in nursing homes right now without it.”
Johnson serves on the Economic Development, Health and Mental Health Policy, and Insurance committees.
Elise Eaker studies journalism at Lincoln University. Prior to Lincoln, Elise graduated from Fulton High School. She is a native of Fulton.