OSHKOSH – A profile piece from The Cap Times out highlights Ron Johnson’s reelection campaign and gives readers a view of Johnson that is often overlooked. It includes interviews with people like Lauri Badura, who lost her son Archie to an accidental opioid overdose and now works with Ron to tackle the fentanyl epidemic, and Jason Church, a Wisconsin Purple Heart veteran who met Ron while at Walter Reed Medical Center and later worked for the senator in Wisconsin.
Read the full story here or find excerpts below:
The political paradox of Ron Johnson
The Cap Times
October 12, 2022
Johnson isn’t just campaigning against his Democratic challenger, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes. He’s running against the left, the news media (groups he often lumps together) and everyone who’s underestimated him since he entered the political arena in 2010.
“The nation’s just become way more divided,” he says when asked what’s changed since he first ran for office in 2010 amid a wave of anti-establishment sentiment embodied by the Tea Party movement. “I hate the division. It’s exhausting.”
He rattles off a “list of horribles” he attributes to Democratic governance: “the open borders, the 40-year-high inflation, record gas prices, rising crime, indoctrination of our kids, lack of baby formula.”
When the crowd at the fair dissipates, Johnson’s first stop is to greet the Plymouth police officers stationed there.
He then strolls the grounds, greeting all who cross his path and requesting their support. Most people shake his outstretched hand, and the few who don’t offer no critique or commentary. This is Wisconsin, after all.
Badura, whose son Archie died of an accidental opioid overdose in 2014, met Johnson at a 2016 field hearing at Waukesha County Technical College for the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs. She founded the organization Saving Others for Archie (SOFA) in hopes of preventing similar tragedies.
After she shared her story, Badura said, both she and Johnson had tears in their eyes. They spoke after the hearing about the family members they’d lost.
“I don’t think people see that softer side of who Ron is as a person. You know, he’s kind, and he is compassionate, he’s trustworthy, and he’s loyal,” Badura said.
Since meeting Badura, Johnson has introduced the Stopping Overdoses of Fentanyl Analogues (SOFA) Act three times. The legislation would allow the Drug Enforcement Administration to classify more than a dozen fentanyl analogs (variations) as Schedule I, a classification given to drugs with no medical use and a high risk for abuse.
Jason Church met Johnson in a similarly vulnerable space. A 2012 IED blast resulted in the amputation below the knee of both of the Army veteran’s legs — along with 21 surgeries, recovery and adaptation to his new prosthetics.
Church, who grew up in Menomonie, met Johnson while he was recovering at Walter Reed. He eventually worked for the senator in Washington, and as a regional director for his office in Wisconsin. His first impression of him, he said, was that he “generally gets to the point.”
“I’ve seen him honestly put a lot of effort, time, energy and quite frankly heart into what he does. I’ve seen him at nights late at the Capitol going over things, I’ve seen him burning the midnight oil trying to understand a problem from all perspectives before he makes a decision,” Church said. “He’s someone who isn’t just in it for the political pomp … I think he views it as an opportunity to perform a duty for the country.”
Read more from the Cap Times here.