Working in the Maine Senate is never a job accomplished alone
Getting things done is all about leadership qualities – at times championing ideas, at times listening and seeking information to make decisions, but always working with others to bring about good outcomes for Maine people.
In spite of the partisan divide in the Legislature, Chris worked across the aisle to improve public policy, with two thirds of bills reported out of the Marine Resource Committee he chairs having unanimous agreement, and strong bipartisan majority reports on the others.
As former U.S. Senator George Mitchell recently advised leaders: “Learn to listen, be patient, and respect those with whom you disagree.” Chris brings those qualities to all his work. He also brings objectivity and perspective – looking at the long view of whether what we are doing today lays the groundwork for a brighter future, as well as a more promising present.
Chris Consistently Votes His Principles – He Voted To
- Pass bipartisan budgets, over the objections of Governor LePage.
- Accept federal Medicaid funds to provide life-saving health care to over 60,000 Maine families, including 3000 Veterans
- Restore Revenue Sharing to restore $40 million in funding for Maine towns and schools and to prevent spikes in property taxes for Maine families
- Reduce student hunger
- Strengthen Property Tax Fairness credit (Circuit Breaker)
- Protect privacy of cell phone data and records by requiring a warrant
- Adjust MaineCare’s family planning income qualifications so they are the same as for maternity and infant health care. It just makes sense for women, while decreasing program costs.
- Require good faith practices protections in franchise and auto dealership contract terms.
Senator Chris Johnson’s Leadership In The Legislature
- In the 127th Legislature Chris is an active member of the Judiciary Committee and the Government Oversight Committee.
- Chris helped reach bipartisan compromise on a bill to balance the rights of existing shooting ranges to operate, with municipal and individual rights.
- Chris lead opposition to a bill that would have weakened Maine people’s rights to compensation for asbestos injuries which died in the Senate.
- Chris lead the effort to reach strong majority agreement on an amendment to Representative Maker’s bill for fingerprint background checks for childcare workers which became law.
- In the 126th Legislature Chris was an active member of three of the Legislature’s Joint Standing Committees: Senate Chair of Marine Resource; Member of Education and Cultural Affairs; Senate Chair of Government Oversight.
- Chris protected lobstermen’s livelihoods and Maine’s sustainable lobster fishery by championing the defeat in the Senate of not one, but two dragged lobster bycatch bills (LD 1097 and LD 1549).
- “Senator Johnson shepherded through the restoration of alewife passage in the St Croix River – which is a long overdue project of immense effort for the removal of a piece of plywood that blocked millions of alewives from returning to their native habitat.” – Maine Chapter Sierra Club, October 2013. LD 72 passed with strong majorities in the Senate and House, and became law without the governor’s signature, ending a decades long policy mistake. Recovery of alewife populations are important to the health of our rivers and wildlife, as well as other fisheries and lobstermen.
- Chris led the Marine Resource Committee as its Senate Chair to a nearly unanimous agreement for protecting the elver fishery from closure by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Many elver fishermen shared their thoughts at the bill hearing on very emotional issues. Other considerations included existing negotiations between the administration and federally recognized Maine tribes, lawyers, and constitutionality opinions from the Attorney General’s office. This legislation that implemented individual harvest quotas and new enforcement practices was difficult and contentious, but with work, eventually received a strong committee vote, and acceptance by tribal and non-tribal elver fishermen.
- Chris introduced a bill to require labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food, but agreed to join on a Republican House member’s GMO labeling bill as lead co-sponsor, believing that working together to get the job done was more important than sponsoring his own bill. With considerable effort and compromise LD 718 became law which will take effect provided that other contiguous New England states join Maine in this labeling.
Chris shares thoughts on important issues and the functioning of Maine state government through radio addresses which you can access through the play list on the right side of this page. An archive of links to radio addresses with transcripts is also available.