I’m feeling a little nostalgic this morning after the birth of our son yesterday evening. Already the proud parents of two young daughters, my wife and I welcomed Josiah Gabriel Johnson into the world.
Momma and baby are doing well.
My wife and children, my faith in God, and my belief in the providential nature of the United States Constitution sustain me while spending long hours away from my family. I spend the days away working in the Capitol and the nights sleeping on an air mattress in a small basement room Missouri Alliance for Freedom rents from a state representative.
A stronger, freer Missouri whose government is limited in power and scope and the growth of individual liberty is our vision. Advocacy and accountability are our mission. Trust but verify is our motto.
We launched Missouri Alliance for Freedom in December of 2013 in the heat of a special session. Governor Nixon and leadership in the Missouri General Assembly were pushing to offer Boeing $1.7 Billion in tax credits and incentives to locate in St. Louis. This is called cronyism.
We announced our opposition with a web video and e-mail blast to elected officials and activists around the state. The response from the establishment was an immediate “who are you and why should we care?”
The Boeing bill passed with overwhelming support giving us a baseline of where Missouri legislators stood on corporate welfare.
I spent much of 2014 traveling to about 125 events around the state introducing myself and MAF to Missouri conservatives.
Since our inception, we have fought for limited government and individual liberty and graded bills accordingly on our annual Missouri Scorecard. We spend a lot of time in the Capitol on issue advocacy and observing what happens with the express purpose of communicating it back to Missourians.
As a result of our issue advocacy we had to file begrudgingly as lobbyists with Missouri Ethics Commission even though we think of ourselves as grassroots activists. We had to pay $10.00 to enjoy our right to “free” speech so that we may talk with the legislators in the Capitol. As lobbyists for liberty, we spend as little money as possible on legislators, though we do have to report our annual Champion of Freedom Awards.
During our brief tenure we have fought on several issues:
- Paycheck Protection
- Prevailing Wage
- Free political speech & the dangers of 501(c)3 & 501(c)4 donor disclosure
- Religious Liberty
- Ethics reform
- Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
- Obamacare/Medicaid Expansion
- Obama’s Controversial Clean Power Plan
- Convention of States
- Tort Reform
- Court Reform
- 2nd Amendment
- And more
At first, it was just me and a legislative analyst who now works for the Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kehoe. Last year we hired Jeremy Cady, former Chief of Staff to Speaker Pro Tem Shane Schoeller, as our Legislative Director.
Jeremy and his new wife were featured prominently at last year’s national Americans for Prosperity Summit 2015 in Columbus Ohio as they celebrated their one year anniversary. I got know Jeremy better at the AFP Summit in 2014 where he and his new bride were honeymooning when I made the decision he needed to be on the Missouri Freedom team. He and Heidi had become engaged the year before at AFP Summit 2013. This year they are expecting their own freedom baby and we couldn’t be more excited for them. They are true believers in American conservatism with a libertarian streak.
We are working together to continue the fight for freedom in Missouri. Each day we face off against an army of lobbyists and legislators who don’t have the same vision. We travel around the state extensively, recording over 25,000 miles traveled already this year. We derive our strength from the grassroots who follow and support us and from our investors (whose identity we will always protect) who make it possible for us to stay in the fight.
Ryan Johnson, President of the Missouri Alliance for Freedom