Speaker Mike Johnson Explainer

After 3 weeks of a vacant Speaker’s chair, the House of Representatives unanimously elected a new Speaker of the House, Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La).  As the 56th Speaker of the House, Speaker Johnson will immediately face numerous challenges including government spending, illegal immigration, and the Ukraine and Israel wars. So who is Mike Johnson and what do we know about him?   


Speaker Johnson, age 51, was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, and is the eldest son of a Shreveport firefighter who was critically disabled in the line of duty. After he earned his undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Louisiana State University, he earned his Juris Doctorate from LSU. In law school, he was a member of the Moot Court Board and National Moot Court Team, and was elected class president and president of the Christian Legal Society. Speaker Johnson is a constitutional lawyer who spent nearly 20 years litigating cases, including landmark cases on religious expression on school campuses and the public square. Per his Congressional bio, he is recognized as a leading defender of the right to life, religious liberty, free speech, the Second Amendment, and the free market.   

Speaker Johnson later served in the Louisiana State Legislature from February 2015 to January 2017. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in December 2016 for Louisiana’s 4th district, and was elected by the largest margin of victory in his region in more than 50 years. His campaign was centered on his faith: “I am a Christian, a husband, a father, a life-long conservative, constitutional law attorney, and a small business owner in that order…. And I think the order is important.” He is currently serving his fourth term in Congress.   


Speaker Johnson is married to his wife Kelly, a former school teacher and now a Licensed Pastoral Counsel.  Together, they have four children.  They also host a weekly podcast, “Truth Be Told with Mike and Kelly Johnson,” which presents analysis of current events from a Christian perspective.   


Speaker Johnson was the vice-chair of the House Republican Conference and is a member of the Armed Services Committee and the House Judiciary Committee, where he serves as chairman of the Subcommittee on Constitution and Limited Government. He also chaired the Republican Study Committee, a congressional caucus of conservative members of the House, during his freshman year in Congress.  

Speaker Johnson’s official website includes his “7 Core Principles of Conservatism” which he wrote in 2018 to help anchor the work of the Republican Study Committee. Those core principles are: 

  • Individual Freedom 
  • Limited Government 
  • The Rule of Law 
  • Peace Through Strength 
  • Fiscal Responsibility 
  • Free Markets 
  • Human Dignity 


Speaker Johnson puts those principles into action through his record in Congress, too. He has a solidly conservative voting record—especially on social issues. One political ranking site, which tracks the votes of Congressional members, found him more conservative than 81% of the 118th House and more conservative than 63% of Republicans in the House, and he is consistently ranked highly by conservative watchdogs and think tanks. Some of Speaker Johnson’s most pertinent policy stances include: 

  • On Life: Speaker Johnson is pro-life and has been given an A+ ranking by Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America.  
  • On the Ukraine war: In the wake of the Russian invasion of February 2022, Speaker Johnson made a strong statement in support of Ukraine and voted for the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022, which was signed by President Biden and helped ease the process for the United States to send military aid to Ukraine. However, more recently he has voted against two different appropriation bills that provided aid to Ukraine and posted on X in February, “American taxpayers have spent over $100 billion in aid to Ukraine in the last year.  They deserve to know if the Ukrainian government is being entirely forthcoming and transparent about the use of this massive sum of taxpayer resources.” 
  • On Israel: In a recent statement to his local news in Louisiana, Speaker Johnson stated, “…And let me be clear, the United States unequivocally stands with Israel and we will provide the support and resources necessary to rid the Middle East and the world of Hamas’ terrorist regime. Please join us in continued prayers for our friends and our allies in Israel.” 
  • On border security: Speaker Johnson supported the border wall construction under President Trump and traveled with Trump to visit the border.  He has also been critical of President Biden’s refusal to finish building the wall. In April 2023, he introduced the Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act,  which would reduce the current backlog of asylum cases and clarify key definitions to stop abuse of asylum claims. 


Prior to his election, Speaker Johnson sent a letter to colleagues defining himself as a team player and “bridge-builder with endless energy.”  He identified his priorities:  

  • Restore trust 
  • Advance a comprehensive policy agenda 
  • Promote individual members 
  • Effectively message 
  • Build and utilize external coalitions 
  • Develop and grow the GOP majority 

While Congress’ three weeks with a vacant Speaker’s chair were full of tumult and uncertainty, the decision to elevate Representative Johnson to this pivotal role can be seen as nothing less than a huge victory for conservatives.  

Speaker Johnson is a family man, a fierce defender of religious liberty and people of faith, and a strong ally to those who support limited government and America’s founding principles—and conservatives should be grateful to have such an ally in the Speaker’s chair.