Plymouth’s Jeff Johnson makes a run at governor

Hennepin County Commissioner is a former state rep

by Brian Rosemeyer
Sun Thisweek
Dakota County Tribune

Jeff Johnson
Jeff Johnson

Campaign season is beginning to heat up, and Plymouth is home to a candidate for the biggest political chair in the state – governor.

Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson announced his campaign in May 2013 and received GOP endorsement at the party’s state convention in late May.

Johnson, 47, has lived in Plymouth for the past two decades. His first run at political office was a campaign for a seat on the Plymouth City Council, which he lost to current Council Member Judy Johnson in 1996.

However, Jeff Johnson wasn’t finished. He set sights on the Minnesota House of Representatives and was elected in 2000 and served for six years. In 2008, Johnson was elected to the Board of Commissioners in Hennepin County and ran once more, unopposed, in 2012.

Johnson graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead in 1989 and Georgetown Law School in Washington, D.C., in 1992. He founded his business, Midwest Employment Resources, in 2001, through which he provides employment law and human resources training, workplace investigations and lawsuit mediations.

Johnson’s sons – Thor (15) and Rolf (11) – attend Wayzata Public Schools; Wayzata High School and East Middle School, respectively. His wife, Sondi, works for Wells Fargo in downtown Minneapolis.

Johnson took some time recently to answer some questions from the newspaper.

Q: How long have you been living in Plymouth?

A: About 19 years now. We were in Chicago, then we moved to Minneapolis for a year. And now we’ve been in the same home ever since.

Q: What do you like about living in Plymouth?

A: It’s a big town, but it feels more like a small community. Plymouth has that small-town feel and both of our boys are in Wayzata Public Schools. So we’ve been very happy about that.

Q: Where did you grow up and what did you learn from it?

A: I grew up in Detroit Lakes. It was a great place to grow up and it was, for me, about the right size – you knew most the people in town and it was big enough where there were things to do.

Growing up in a smaller town, you learn a certain work ethic and a certain set of values that kind of stick with you for the rest of your life.

Q: When did you decide to get involved in politics and why?

A: I had been interested in politics since I was in high school and probably knew early on that, at some point, I would get involved by running for something.

I ran for the House in 2000 and that was my first win.

Q: What spurred the decision to run for governor?

A: It’s been in the back of my mind. Almost anyone in the Legislature, if they are honest with you, would say they have thought they would make a good governor at some point.

For me, it kind of came to reality during the (2013) legislative session. I really watched where we seemed to be headed as a state, and I think we’re headed in the wrong direction. Everything seems to be about government and how to make government bigger and give it more control over people’s lives. I feel we should be heading in the opposite direction.

Q: What are some of your goals if you are elected to governor?

A: If I am elected, I have three goals. One is to improve the business climate in Minnesota. Number two is education reform. And number three is auditing government programs so that we’re focusing dollars on programs that can prove they get results.

Q: What would you do if you were not elected?

A: If this doesn’t work out, I’ll likely just focus on my business and my family. If I’m not governor, I can handle that. But I would love to be governor.

Contact Brian Rosemeyer at [email protected]