Wisconsin freshman senator: We need more ‘citizen legislators’

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson says he wants to see more people like him elected to Congress — Americans who have spent their lives in business, not in politics.

Johnson, who had never held office before running for the U.S. Senate, was elected in 2010, defeating liberal Democrat Sen. Russ Feingold.

“We need far more people like I think our founding fathers envisioned,” Johnson said Wednesday of political candidates, at a breakfast with reporters hosted by the American Spectator and Americans for Tax Reform.

Speaking about those elected with a business background, he said: “Coming here to Washington with that lifetime experience, a real deep respect for what we have to deal with in the private sector in terms of all the rules, regulations, and taxes the government imposes on us. It’s a totally different perspective. And I think you need that.”

Asked by The Daily Caller about Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, another businessman running for office without a history in politics, Johnson spoke broadly, saying untested candidates like Cain have to realize “the scrutiny they are going to come under.”

“You have to understand that coming into that process, and you need to spend, I would think, a lot of time preparing for that,” Johnson said.

Asked if he was overwhelmed by all the issues he had to quickly master once he arrived in Washington, Johnson, an avid Wall Street Journal reader, said he felt prepared.

“You have to be well read,” he said. “And I think I was pretty well read. There is a certain expectation that when you get here that you’re an expert in all these issues, and you simply can’t be.”

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