Gary Johnson is a Republican and serves as the Honorary Chairman of the Our America Initiative. He has been an outspoken advocate for efficient government, lower taxes, winning the war on drug abuse, protection of civil liberties, revitalization of the economy and promoting entrepreneurship and privatization.
He was born on January 1, 1953 and attended the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque from 1971 to 1975, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree. While in college, Gary Johnson earned money as a door-to-door handyman. His success in this area prompted him to start his own construction business, Big J Enterprises, which was founded in 1976. Johnson grew the company into a multi-million dollar corporation that employed over 1000 people in 1994. When he sold Big J in 1999, no employee lost his job and the company remains very successful to this day.
In 1994, Johnson was elected Governor of New Mexico despite having little experience in politics. He defeated the incumbent Democratic Governor Bruce King in the general election as well as a former Republican Governor in the primary election.
In 1998, Johnson was re-elected as governor, defeating Democratic Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez by a 55% to 45% margin.
As Governor of New Mexico, Johnson was known for his common-sense business approach to governing. He eliminated New Mexico’s budget deficit, cut the rate of growth in state government in half and privatized half of the state prisons.
Johnson also shifted state Medicaid to managed care (which led to better healthcare by creating a statewide healthcare network that previously did not exist and which saved money) and reduced state employees by over 1000, with no firings. During his term, New Mexico experienced the longest period without a tax increase in the state’s history.
While in office, Governor Johnson vetoed 750 bills (which was more than all the combined vetoes of the other 49 Governors in the country at the time ) and thousands of line item vetoed bills.
Gary Johnson was term limited and could not run for a third consecutive term as Governor in 2002. He currently lives in New Mexico and has remained very active, competing in numerous athletic competitions. He is an avid skier, adventurer, and bicyclist who abstains from alcohol. In 2003, he climbed Mount Everest. Johnson was raised Lutheran and throughout his life has lived according to those Christian principles. Gary Johnson has two grown children.