Minnesotans react as Rep. Mike Johnson is elected U.S. House Speaker
(ABC 6 News) – More than three weeks of chaos on Capitol Hill has come to an end as the U.S. House of Representatives finally elected a new speaker on Wednesday.
Louisiana Representative Mike Johnson overcame weeks of Republican in-fighting and did what three prior nominees couldn’t, winning the party’s support and formerly taking over the gavel.
With Congress stuck at a standstill for more than three weeks, a number of high profile agenda items were stuck in limbo, as no legislative business can be conducted without a House Speaker.
That includes aid for both Israel and Ukraine, as well as a funding resolution to avoid a looming government shutdown.
People on both sides of the political aisle can now sigh a breath of relief as lawmakers can finally get back to business.
That includes Alex Onderak, a college student and republican voter in Rochester who’s been keeping up with the speaker vote.
“I feel like it’s been a long time and I feel like it should’ve gone a little bit shorter than it did, but I’m glad it happened, at least we have a speaker now,” said Onderak. Based on the research he’s done, he feels Johnson is a good candidate. “I definitely feel like he’s a good choice for the role as Speaker of the House. I feel like he’s a very respectful and honest person.”
Rep. Johnson is a hard-line conservative who has voted against many bipartisan bills, including the Re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act and the establishment of an independent January 6 Commission.
However, Johnson acknowledged he will need to work with both sides of the aisle as speaker.
“The job of the speaker of the house is to serve the whole body, and I will, but I’ve made a commitment to my colleagues here that this speaker’s office is going to be known for decentralizing the power here,” said Johnson.
Minnesota State Senator Liz Boldon (DFL – Rochester) is glad the house finally has a speaker, saying it’s important to have a functioning federal government.
“I hope now that the house is in order they can pass a federal budget, but the reality is if they don’t, that has implications for us as a state, and so I’m grateful that we have a strong and functioning government at the state level,” said Boldon.
U.S. Representative Brad Finstad (MN-01) released a statement saying:
“I was proud to cast a vote in support of Rep. Johnson on the House Floor today. It is an honor to serve with Rep. Johnson in Congress and on the House Armed Services Committee, and I know him to be an honest man led by faith with a true dedication to our country.
“Mike is a commonsense conservative that our Conference and our country needs. He has my full support, and I have every confidence that, under his leadership, our Republican majority is united and ready to get back to work for the American people.”
Addressing the house floor Wednesday, Johnson pledged his office would be known for trust, transparency and accountability. He says the house will get to work on solving the challenges of the American people, both domestically and abroad.