News & Politics

5 Things to Know About Mike Johnson, the New Speaker of the House

Meet the new Speaker of the House—finally.

Photograph courtesy of Congressman Mike Johnson's office.

Louisiana Representative Mike Johnson was elected Speaker of the House on Wednesday afternoon after 22 days of chaos and gridlock. Here’s what to know about the lawmaker now holding the top position in the House of Representatives.

He’s got a background in constitutional law.

Before starting his political career, Johnson was an attorney for almost 20 years, working on constitutional law cases. He was elected to the Louisiana Legislature in 2015, and then to the House of Representatives in 2016. When Johnson isn’t in Washington, the Shreveport native lives in Bossier Parish, Louisiana, with his wife, Kelly, and four children.

He’s one of the most inexperienced Speakers in history.

The Louisiana congressman is currently serving his fourth term in the House and has never held a senior leadership role or chaired a committee. In contrast, former Speaker Paul Ryan served 16 years in the House before being elected to the position, and Kevin McCarthy held a number of leadership positions before his short-lived Speakership. (According to Politico, Johnson is the least experienced Speaker since John G. Carlisle, who held the position from 1883 to 1889.)

While he may not chair a committee, Johnson is a member of the House Judiciary Committee and the Armed Services Committee. He was elected vice chairman of the House Republican conference in 2021, and the lawmaker also serves as the deputy whip under Tom Emmer, who you might remember as yesterday’s front-runner for the speakership.

He’s anti-abortion.

Johnson holds a conservative stance on key issues. He is anti-abortion and celebrated the overturning of Roe v. Wade, calling it “an historic and joyful day.” The lawmaker currently holds an A+ rating from anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America.

He supports anti-LGBTQ+ measures.

Last year Johnson voted against legislation codifying the right to same-sex marriage, and he also introduced a bill that has been compared to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, which prohibits education about sexual orientation or gender identity in schools. The new Speaker has also spoken out in opposition of gender-affirming care for minors.

He’s a Donald Trump ally.

Johnson was appointed to Trump’s impeachment defense team during the former president’s Senate trial in 2020. Later that year, the Louisiana representative led an amicus brief signed by 125 House Republicans in support of overturning the 2020 election results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. How does Trump feel about Johnson? On Wednesday morning, hours before the final vote, Trump posted about the now-Speaker on Truth Social: “My strong SUGGESTION is to go with the leading candidate, Mike Johnson, & GET IT DONE, FAST!”

Brooke Spach
Editorial Fellow