Lacy Johnson has been living in North Minneapolis for 40 years. He raised his two sons, Darien and Adrian, in North Minneapolis and knows there is so much potential yet to be unlocked for his hometown.
Johnson is running against far-left Rep. Ilhan Omar, whom he believes espouses hate-speech. The Federalist sat down with Johnson to discuss his plans for MN-5 if elected.
Chrissy Clark (CC): Can you explain your background and why you have decided to run against Ilhan Omar?
Lacy Johnson (LJ): I’m originally from Mississippi. I moved to Minnesota to go to college, University of Minnesota. Didn’t finish, actually I was two credits short because I wanted to be another Bill Gates. So, I was going to start another Microsoft and become a billionaire. Long story short, I got a job as a tech writer which got me into a computer engineering firm. Ended up going back to school for computer engineering, completed that course at Brown Institute. I spent about 40 years in computer engineering and in between I did some entrepreneurship.
I live in North Minneapolis, which is considered like “the hood.” I’ve been here for over 35 years. And really what motivated me, and I’m not a politician, I just kept seeing the same problems decade-after-decade. Same amount of suffering, people’s lives weren’t getting any better.
I saw that black Americans were voting 80 to 85 percent Democrat. I also saw that Democrats wasn’t doing anything to help our situation. I don’t agree with the Democrat principles. I agree with the Republican principles of free enterprise, responsibility, fiscally conservative. There are some issues I’m socially conservative on because of my Southern Baptist background.
Long story short, I decided to throw my hat in the ring and try to do something about it. I’m at the stage in life where I look in the rearview mirror, I see more miles behind me than in front of me and I want to do my best to make a difference. A positive difference in the lives of people. I want us to focus on things like family, bringing the family back together, education, economics, and this is a little tricky but the spiritual aspects of life.
If I had to point to one specific thing, when Trump was elected, and Jim Brown and Ray Lewis went and visited Trump. Jim Brown’s been out in the streets and fixing things for a long time. And he got really criticized for it. And I’m sitting here thinking, This doesn’t make any sense. Whether you agree with him, like him or not, the guy’s president of the United States. And you need to talk and let him know what our demands are.
CC: What are the problems that you would like to see fixed? What key points are on your platform?
LJ: The number one priority is that people are suffering and poor. And they are habitually suffering and poor. So that’s my number one priority, and once again I mentioned things like families, and education, and economics. I know there are issues with crime and violence. And in my district there’s a terrible issue with sexual assault, drug issues, lack of economics, lack of education, and those types of things.
But once again, I have a very diverse district and I think my goal is to reduce the dependency of our community on government solutions, looking to the government for money, and looking to the government to supply our families for what we need. I hold a mirror up to my fellow black men and say Hey look, we need to do better. We need to support our family, we need to take care of our family, we need to accept that responsibility, and not lean on other people to do it. Once we do that, we can revive economics in the area and reduce everybody’s taxes. I’m for low taxes.
I’ve very interested in the price of education and driving down that cost. Driving down the cost of student loans and the burden that it puts on students. But, once again, I’m looking for more free enterprise type solutions, rather than government-based solutions and handouts. When I look at what I’m doing, I look at the family. I look at the family and see how they’re going to be impacted.
I hear us talking about conservatives and liberals, but I would really like to see us start coming together, and focusing on solutions. Like I said, I’m a corporate guy, and it doesn’t matter what your boss and opinions were, it didn’t matter what your race were, what your sexual orientation were, gender were, none of that matters. Because we focus on goals and results.
So, I would like to bring that into the political realm and focus on what the issues are, and bring us together, decide on a solution or two, and work together to solve problems. I’m a problem solver.
CC: Did you ever consider running as an independent to primary Omar?
LJ: I was always going to run as a Republican, because one of things is that once you learn computers, the label you put on it really doesn’t matter. And once you learn politics and politicians, the party really doesn’t matter per se. Only thing is that Democrats’ solutions and philosophies I just don’t agree with.
One of my fundamental objectives is to change the way people look at things, change the mindset. And I want people to understand the mindset of some of the things Republicans have, like individual responsibility, accountability, limited government. Those are the type of things that I want us to really think about, and I didn’t think I could convey that message running as an Independent.
CC: What does your current staff and campaign team look like?
LJ: I have a campaign manager that is responsible for putting the team together. Right now, we’re focused on fundraising so we can have enough money to bring in the type of people that will bring everything else together.
But, the Republican National Committee has identified my district as one they really want to pour some resources into and help increase the turnout. So, they will be supplying some manpower.
CC: You have someone that’s running in the primary against you, correct?
LJ: Yes, that’s correct, I have four I think.
CC: How do you plan to stand out against them?
LJ: I think what differentiates me, is first of all I got a little bit of experience running for state office last year. And I was able to bring together, what I consider the most diverse campaign team in the history of American politics… So, what I think I bring to the table is the ability to build a coalition.
Also, right now, it appears we are going to have to have a coalition of the Jewish community, the African American community. They’re going to all have to come together and help make this thing happen. And I already have ties, and establishment, and support in those communities.
CC: There are a lot of people in your district that want what Democrats call “Medicare for All.” I’m assuming that as a Republican, this isn’t a policy you would want to endorse. How would you persuade the people in your district to support a proposal besides Medicare for All?
LJ: First of all, the cost of Medicare for All will probably be prohibiting. The second thing is, whenever we’re trying to solve an issue in this country, we must take into consideration the history and culture of this country. And the history and culture of this country says that people are skeptical of government-run health care. Eighty percent of people get their health care from business, and they are very happy with it and they don’t want to get rid of insurance companies. I think those are the type of arguments we’re going to make.
I think there’s a rule where we couldn’t negotiate with pharmaceutical companies on drug prices under Obamacare, those are the types of things that we’re going to take a look at. But the bottom line is that, we’re going to be looking at free enterprise-type solution instead of a government and socialist type of solution to our health care issue.
I’m in favor of, instead of going with one answer across 50 states, maybe we pick two or three potential solutions and try them and see what the results are. So, taking a more methodical, and logical, and reasonable, and data-based approach to this thing. But, always taking into consideration the history and culture of this country.