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Committed to Solving “Kitchen Table Issues” Like the Student Loan Crisis,
Wayne Johnson Moves Forward in Unique ‘Jungle’ Election for U.S. Senate
Macon, Ga. March 4, 2020 -- Saying the unique Georgia U.S. Senate election needs a unique candidate, Republican Dr. Wayne Johnson qualified for the November “jungle primary” to fill out the remaining term of retiring Sen. Johnny Isakson.
“Georgians are looking for someone who will carry on in the tradition of Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss, and who will seek to solve the everyday problems which the hard-working families of Georgia talk about around the kitchen table, not what is being obsessed about in Washington,” said Johnson, 68, a Macon resident. “This election gives Georgians a chance to unify behind someone who can do just that.”
As he did when he resigned from the Trump administration to seek the appointment to the seat now held by Sen. Kelly Loeffler, Johnson said his message would focus on the student loan debt crisis impacting more than 44 million Americans and their families across the country, including 1.2 million in Georgia.
“There is no greater crisis for these Georgia residents and their families than their student loan debt. Parents want their children to achieve the “American Dream” of higher education and workforce skills development without getting caught-up in a student loan debt trap,” said Johnson. “How to pay for post high-school education going forward while avoiding student loan debt is a real kitchen table issue, as is how to get out of student loan debt quicksand if you are already in it.
“The difficulty of recruiting and retaining qualified teachers in our kid’s schools, that’s a kitchen table issue. Fixing roads and bridges regular citizens use every day is a kitchen table issue. Figuring out how to care for aging parents is a kitchen table issue. Accessibility to healthcare and reasonable prescription drug prices, these are kitchen table issues. Few Georgians are sitting around the kitchen table locating Ukraine on a map.”
Under Georgia law, the remaining two years of Isakson’s term will be filled through an open primary where all candidates, independent of party affiliation, appear on the same ballot. The top two finishers will face each other in a runoff Jan. 5, 2021.
Johnson spent more than 30 years as a successful business executive and entrepreneur before entering public service as part of the Trump administration’s efforts to analyze and fix the Federal Student Aid bureaucracy as a senior member of the U.S. Department of Education.
He burst onto the national scene in October 2019 when he resigned from the Trump administration to pursue the appointment to the seat being vacated by Isakson. Johnson’s initial platform statements focused on ending the student loan debt crisis and restructuring how every American pays for college or workforce training.
Johnson’s “Opportunity Plus” plan was featured across the country last October and November in prominent newspaper outlets like the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and local Georgia newspapers like the Macon Telegraph. NBC Nightly News, ABC Evening News and Fox News reported on the plan -- elevating the discussion of an issue that impacts more than 44 million Americans and their families. Since introducing his plan, Johnson has expanded the plan to address other kitchen table discussion issues that Georgians say are important to them.
“I will take my Opportunity Plus plan across the state of Georgia and rally the millions of Georgia residents shackled by broken systems being perpetuated in Washington,” said Johnson. “I will ask my fellow citizens to send me to Washington so I can work on our collective behalf to bring real changes to the issues that impact our daily lives,”
Johnson said - “Opportunity Plus” will transform how America prepares its future workforce while getting the federal government out of the student loan business. The plan will create a go-forward program of “education opportunity grants” available to every high school graduate and to citizens who never pursued secondary education. It will force colleges to reduce costs and give the private sector direct influence over how colleges prepare students for the workforce.
The proposal cancels student debt for 35 million Americans and rewards Georgians who have responsibly paid off student loans. The program will be paid for by a tax on corporations, as an investment in their future workforce. Today, $1.6 trillion of national debt is the result of student loans. The majority of the debt will never be repaid, according to the latest data.
“My program was developed through the lens of conservative business principle, and Opportunity Plus will stop the insanity of this never-ending flow of red ink,” Johnson said. “No one, Republican or Democrat, is talking about real solutions to the student loan crisis,” said Johnson. “It’s time for that to change, and that change starts with sending someone to Washington who cares more about kitchen table issues than most of what is talked about in Washington.”
Johnson said he will travel the state to engage citizens with his message and build his support without bombarding voters with negative messages on television. He said he would take no donations of more than $250 and would self-fund the necessary money to be competitive.
“There are fine people running for this open Senate seat who will spend tens of millions of dollars in what may be the most expensive Senate election in state history, and I wish them well,” said Johnson. “My efforts will go toward creating awareness and understanding of ‘kitchen table’ issues and building a unifying message and action plan for addressing and solving these issues.”
Johnson spent more than three decades as an entrepreneur, senior executive and CEO of multiple businesses, both domestic and international, in the consumer finance and customer service support industries. He is a U.S. Army veteran, an Eagle Scout and a product of Georgia’s education system. He holds a PhD in Higher Education Leadership from Mercer University, a Master of Business Administration from Emory University and Bachelor of Arts from Mercer University.
He makes his home in Macon, Georgia.