We reached out to just about every candidate that we ranked with a questionnaire specific to the office they are running for. Here are the answers Mr. Johnson provided.
Mr. Johnson is a Republican. He's running to be the Commissioner for Clark County Distrcit F.
Tell us about your background. What are your qualifications for this position?
I earned a Master of Public Policy degree and have worked for more than 20 years at free market, limited government think tanks, including the National Taxpayers Union and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance. I have also served as a columnist and government watchdog with a nationally syndicated TV segment that appeared during local news segments across America.
Additionally, I founded and served as president of a libertarian think tank in Tennessee that is responsible for expanding school choice, reducing taxes, and eliminating burdensome occupational licensing requirements. Using public records laws, I’ve exposed wasteful spending at all levels of government, saving taxpayers more than $60 billion in the process. In 2012, as an opinion page editor, I gave Libertarian Gary Johnson his most high-profile endorsement for President when it was clear that neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney was committed to upholding the Constitution or limiting the size and scope of government.
Do you agree or disagree with the measures taken by state officials in response to the COVID-19 pandemic? What do you think should have been done or done differently?
I entirely disagree with mask mandates and the government’s shutdown of businesses and schools. If I were in a position of power at the time, I would’ve shared the best available scientific recommendations with my constituents, but left decisions about masks to individuals and business owners. I would’ve fought any and all efforts by government to force businesses, religious institutions, and schools to close.
My opponent, Justin Jones, actually led the charge to make Clark County's mask requirements and shutdown regulations even more strict than the state's draconian, nonsensical policies.
Many voters are unhappy with our public school system. What policies or actions would you prescribe to repair or replace the existing system? Do you support “school choice” policies such as educational savings accounts? Why or why not?
While the Clark County Commission has almost no input whatsoever about the Clark County School District, I will use my bully pulpit as one of the most impactful elected officials in the state to champion school choice. In Tennessee, I helped pass an expansion of charter schools, as well as legislation giving homeschoolers more rights.
It is clear that Nevada’s one-size-all education policy is failing our students. The state’s ESA program should be fully funded and expanded so that money follows the student. Increasing competition in education and allowing students to attend schools that best suit their needs is the only way we will improve our unacceptable education system.
Please briefly describe your political philosophy. What are your guiding principles?
I believe people make better decisions than government about the issues that impact their lives. As a result, we should reduce the size, influence, and authority of government and work to empower individuals and communities to solve problems. In almost all cases, problems can be addressed more successfully through more freedom, rather than by more government.
Some of my personal heroes who helped inspire me to devote my career to fighting for limited, responsible government include George Mason, James Madison, Friedrich Hayek, Robert Nozick, Milton Friedman, Barry Goldwater, and Ron Paul, as well as the Cato Institute and Reason Magazine.
Many voters are concerned about inflation and its impact. What could be done at the state or national level to address the root causes of inflation or mitigate its impact on the public?
At the national level, inflation has been caused primarily by irresponsibly printing money to pay for out-of-control federal spending. This has devalued our currency and weakened our purchasing power. The Clark County Commission can do little to influence monetary policy or push for wholesale changes to the failing Federal Reserve System.
The Clark County Commission, however, does play a role in increasing the cost of goods and services as a result of myriad county regulations, taxes, and fees.
For example, fees and regulations on new home construction increase the price of a housing unit by approximately $20,000. Also, the Clark County Commission recently increased the local portion of the sales tax to the maximum amount allowed by state law. Since this tax is applied as a percentage of the cost of a purchase, when the cost of goods increases, the cost of the sales tax increases even more dramatically, further hurting consumers.
During this time of runaway prices and skyrocketing inflation, it is vital to reduce costs to customers and businesses. Reducing fees, taxes, and regulations is a simple way the Clark County Commission can provide some relief to county residents.
What are the biggest issues currently affecting Clark County? What do you hope to accomplish if elected?
The biggest issue affecting Clark County are the failing schools, and the lack of accountability and choice in the local education system. The lack of a quality workforce is dramatically hampering our local economic development opportunities and keeping us reliant on the casino, resort, and entertainment industries, which leaves Clark County extremely vulnerable to economic downturns,
Two other major issues confronting Clark County are the lack of land available for development and the government barriers harming small businesses.
The federal government owns 89% of the land in Clark County. This inflates the cost of housing, expands the rate of homelessness, increases the price of goods and services to customers, limits the amount of economic growth possible in the region, and forces everyone in the county to pay more in taxes. The County Commission recently made the terrible decision to turn down an offer of 25,000 acres from Congress. I will work with our federal lawmakers to make much more of our land available for Clark County residents.
Opening a taco cart or a hot dog stand in Clark County requires 23 steps, as well as the payment of 3 fees. It is nearly impossible to open even the smallest and least profitable business in Clark County without spending thousands of dollars on attorneys and accountants. As a result, the number of job-creating entrepreneurs is limited in our area, reducing the number of jobs, the tax base, and the amenities available to local residents. Making Clark County more business-friendly by reducing fees, regulations, taxes, and occupational licensing burdens will be my top priority once elected.
Can you cite any instances in which you believe that Clark County Commissioners abused their power?
In a despicable, disgusting example of abuse of power, my opponent Justin Jones attacked the First Amendment rights of every single person in Clark County. He authored, sponsored, and passed a resolution declaring “misinformation” about COVID-19 a “public health crisis” and sought to silence people spreading misinformation. But it turns out that “misinformation” included questioning the Clark County government’s approach to handling Covid, and expressing skepticism about bad data and flawed decisions. As a result, Jones wanted to silence critics and strip his own constituents of their Constitutional rights.
This completely unacceptable example of abuse of power is why I chose to run for Clark County Commission. It is vital we have someone in this powerful position who will uphold and protect the Constitution and defend our rights, rather than someone who will actively work to strip our liberties.