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Vote 2018

Candidate Profile: Sam Johnson for U.S. House of Representatives, Texas District 3

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It’s an election year, and here at Plano Profile we strive to connect our community; part of that is helping educate the community and giving candidates a platform to address the community.

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Meet Christopher Sam Johnson who is running for U.S. House of Representatives, Texas District 3 as a democrat. 

Photo Courtesy of Sam Johnson

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

I am a native Texas, and other than my tenure in college and law school, I have lived in the district my entire life. I grew up going through public schools in Plano and worked my first job bagging groceries when I was 14 at the Tom Thumb at Parker & Independence.

I’ve never really stopped working since, having worked full-time to put myself through college while earning my degree in Government from the University of Texas at Austin and working while getting my law degree from South Texas College of Law – Houston.

After moving home and marrying my wife, I eventually decided to start my own law firm. I now practice business law helping companies large and small both as their attorney and in advisory role.

We have 3 sons and I dedicate my “spare time” to fighting injustice and inequity by serving with the Anti-Defamation League, with which I serve on the Board of Directors and co-chair the Education Committee. My work with the ADL and experiences such as graduating from the FBI Citizens Academy have helped sharpen and shape the importance of justice in the world.

Read more: Meet Lorie Burch for U.S. House of Representatives, Texas District 3 

Why are you running for office?

The time has come for new, authentic leadership to take the reins with an eye toward inclusion in the many measures of success American society has to offer. “Cooperation” and “common sense” shouldn’t be bad words.

We need somebody who can (and will) listen to and talk with members and constituents in both parties, or who haven’t found a home in either. Our district has for too long been underrepresented in both substance and action. The residents of Texas’ 3rd Congressional district are progress-oriented, believe in opportunity for all of our families, and have real matters of concern, and they deserve a representative who will empathize and problem solve with them.

With the incumbent retiring, I believe this is the best opportunity to reclaim this seat and make sure that truly all of the voters in our district are represented and empowered. I have long been a community advocate for equality and equal opportunity across the board.

Texas needs a new kind of politician, the kind they taught us we were supposed to have. I believe I am the best candidate to represent the shared values of our community both in Washington and here in our district.

 Read more: Meet Alex Donkervoet for U.S. House of Representatives, Texas District 3 

What makes you the most qualified person for this position?

The greatest compliment I ever received was that I’m a good listener, and it’s something I’ve worked to keep as being true. I’m running for a representative position, and the most important thing I can do is keep listening to my constituents so that, when voting, I’m voting based on their thoughts and beliefs.

In my work as a business attorney, I work directly with Federal laws, particularly statutes and regulations impacting companies large and small. I also interact with Federal agencies on behalf of clients. Through these experiences, I not only have the foundational knowledge to work on legislation, but I have practical experience for how laws are interpreted and applied in everyday life. In a time where it is so important that our legislators be in touch with what their constituents are going through, this experience is crucial.

I have always had a passion for public service and have spent the better part of my life working to better the communities of which I am part. In my work with the ADL, I have advocated for the rights of groups I don’t belong to in the name of doing what is right. This involvement has taken me for over six years to work with my legislators to stave off legislation harmful to minority groups and promote legislation establishing equality for all. I’m used to fighting hard to protect all the members of our communities, and I’ll continue that work in Congress.

Read more: Meet Christopher Claytor for U.S. House of Representatives, Texas District 3

What issues are your top priorities? Name three.

 

  • 1. Voting Rights. I will immediately work on augmenting and strengthening the Voting Rights Act. In our representative system of government, voter suppression, gerrymandering, and financial influence have no legitimate function, and must be dealt with. This is not only a matter of constitutional principle, but of ensuring that citizens are confident that we have a voice in who represents us and the laws that govern us.Such confidence is essential to a peaceful, orderly society, and perhaps most importantly, to fulfilling the social contract which holds our nation together.

 

  1. Healthcare is a right and I will join and work with others already in office to develop and implement reforms to ensure that every single American has access to the healthcare they need. Healthcare impacts countless industries and facets of Americans’ lives that I struggle to understand how we don’t already have full healthcare access for all of our citizens.Healthy citizens are productive citizens. Healthy employees are productive employees. Healthy students are productive students. If we want to see our industries innovate and develop, and our schools and universities grow and inspire, and our families thrive and succeed, we must start by meeting this most basic need of every person.

     

  2. I will continue developing plans to ensure our district has access to the resources it needs to continue improving our transportation infrastructure, and to bring public transportation throughout our district to all citizens who need or want it. Our district has continued to change rapidly, and indeed, Collin County is the fastest growing county in the state.As a result, traffic congestion has become a regular problem. Many service-oriented businesses are struggling to find employees who can either commute to work or who can afford to live nearby. My concern is that by not addressing this problem now, our district’s families and businesses will be stifled rather than thriving.

Read more: Meet David Niederkorn for U.S. House of Representatives, Texas District 3

What changes would you implement and how?

1. Voting Rights – We must strongly punish voter suppression efforts at any level by establishing both civil and criminal penalties for any public or private person who acts to discourage or prevent people from voting. The punishment needs to be more severe where the basis for such interference is the victim’s membership to a protected class, including sexual orientation or gender identity.

We must establish an independent, non-partisan commission to draw federal district lines for Congressional races. The objective of the commission will be to ensure that population is the only consideration taken into account in apportioning seats in the House, not race or political leaning.

We must get money out of politics so that real citizens are the only ones choosing legislators. The time has come for a legislative remedy to the Citizens United opinion, and we owe it to America’s founding principles to get SuperPACs out of the political arena so that legislators are not only voting for their constituents’ best interest, but so they’ll be naturally encouraged to keep in closer touch with their constituents back home than the lobbyists in Washington.

2. Healthcare Much like antitrust and deceptive trade legislation, the health care discussion needs to move on to protecting Americans from deception and unconscionability. The ACA should be fixed to protect Americans and their employers from paying excessive health insurance premiums.

Moreover, too many times health insurance companies get involved in health care decisions and deny claims for care that their insureds need. Congress should also prohibit pharmaceutical companies from pricing medications beyond the reach of so many Americans who need them, and instead require most favored nations arrangements whereby American patients get the best price that patients in other countries get.

Medicare and Medicaid should have the ability to truly negotiate what they pay for medication on behalf of the American people. Health care is indeed a right, and it is high time America treats its citizens as deserving of this common dignity.

 

3. Transpiration and Infrastructure– Congress needs to refocus on upgrading, maintaining, and improving America’s transportation infrastructure. Especially as we see exponential growth in Collin County, I will work for Federal assistance on local highway projects, preferably in a way that also helps eliminate toll road systems.

I will also work for public transportation assistance throughout the district, which would be an enormous expansion beyond the current situation. Finally, I will return to the district regularly to speak up for my constituents at the state and local level to engage as a community leader rather than just as an elected official to ensure our district has the government support it needs for it’s businesses to continue growing and it’s families to thrive.

What factors in your life have shaped your beliefs?

It’s difficult to pin down any one factor or set of factors that has shaped one’s beliefs, as we are all the sum of the significant and the insignificant experiences we’ve had. Being in ROTC all four years of high school shaped the way I look at diligence, discipline, and attention to detail. Working my way through college and law school taught me the value in hard work and to appreciate the things I have in my life now.

Losing my mom when I was only 29 and my oldest son was only 4 months reminded me of the line from my favorite movie, The Shawshank Redemption, to “get busy livin’, or get busy dyin’.”

But it’s really the people in my life, the various stories and fables I’ve heard along the way, that have shaped my beliefs. For example, my brother-in-law is a Dreamer who has gone on to earn a master’s and teach at a highly respected university in the Metroplex and father two of my nephews.

My wife’s job as an elementary school counselor and my own conversations with teachers and students and administrators have left me with the strong beliefs that our teachers and schools are underfunded, under-supplied, and underestimated.

My friend Scott’s constant rejection by his health insurance company of a device that three different physicians have said is medically necessary guides me when considering the role of government in ensuring access to health care for everyone.

What do you believe should be the function of government?  

The function of government is to affirm and ensure to our citizens the principles of liberty and freedom, and to mandate respect, dignity, and equal treatment for all under the law. In as limited a manner as practicable, the government must serve the people toward that end.

This means making sure every American has access to healthcare without getting involved in making medical decisions. This means providing for a system of marriage without dictating who may marry whom. This means establishing an education system without allowing disparate privilege to one population while denying it to another.

It means providing for the general welfare in a way that helps people eliminate the need for welfare. In its simplest form, the function of government is to provide a national environment in which citizens can thrive with as little interaction with the government as possible.

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