Ron Johnson is the former number one guy at a plastics company who went to a Tea Party rally, where the seeds of a political career were sewn, and a month later, he joined the race for U.S. Senate. Johnson won, and since that victory in November 2010, he's been in Washington D.C., on a mission to shrink the size of the federal government by
slashing spending, and reducing regulations. He's also not letting his freshman status get in the way of his ambition, applying for the vice-chair of the Senate Republican Conference, and if he were to win, he'd be the Senate's fifth-ranking Republican.
FOX6's Mike Lowe traveled to Washington D.C. recently to sit down and talk with Johnson one-on-one. Johnson says there are a lot of changes he'd like to make, and one of his goals is to repeal every policy passed under President Obama. Another goal: to get Congress to do business out in the open, as he says most of it is done in the dark corners that the public never sees.
"I didn't know what was happening behind closed doors, and neither did the American public," Johnson said.
On one day in Congress, Johnson sat through a Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing, examining efficiency. While other senators barely masked their boredom, Johnson listened intently, taking copious notes. His bright blue eyes cast a skeptical stare upon the witnesses, and he asked questions with the purpose of protecting taxpayers.
Later in the day, Johnson was back at the Capitol, listening to a round-table discussion of small business owners. Johnson says government regulations are stifling private businesses, and he's introduced legislation to repeal these regulations - his first piece of legislation as senator.
"At this point, we're trying to preserve jobs. What the bill would do is just halt the creation of new rules and regulations until unemployment falls below the level it was when President Obama took office," Johnson said.
Johnson is waging a battle against government, and one of the items in his sparsely decorated office reflects that. It's a statue of Atlas, holding up the world, saying "fight to be free." It's a reference to the book "Atlas Shrugged" by conservative author Ayn Rand, whose philosophy holds that capitalism is the only way to protect individual rights.
"The book is obviously a fictionalized account of what happens when government begins to grow, and starts crowding out the private sector. It starts removing our freedoms. In the end, this is a fundamental fight for freedom that we're engaged in here," Johnson said.
Johnson says eliminating the nation's debt is what he came to Washington D.C. to do, and he wants more influence to do it.
"My obligation is to communicate how urgent, how dire our financial situation is to the voters of Wisconsin and America. I didn't come here to sit back and wait for my seniority to kick in when I would have maximum effectiveness. Our nation doesn't have a whole lot of time to wait here on this financial situation," Johnson said.
Johnson says he plans to keep the only promise he made during his campaign process: to never vote with re-election in mind.