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Bill Johnson (Ohio politician)

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Bill Johnson
Official portrait, 2011
10th President of Youngstown State University
Assumed office
January 22, 2024
Preceded byJim Tressel
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 6th district
In office
January 3, 2011 – January 21, 2024
Preceded byCharlie Wilson
Succeeded byMichael Rulli (elect)
Personal details
William Leslie Johnson

(1954-11-10) November 10, 1954 (age 69)
Roseboro, North Carolina, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Wanda Porter (divorced)
LeeAnn Johnson
EducationTroy University (BS)
Georgia Institute of Technology (MS)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Air Force
Years of service1973–1999
RankLieutenant Colonel
AwardsMeritorious Service Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal
National Defense Service Medal

William Leslie Johnson (born November 10, 1954) is an American university administrator, businessman, and former politician who has served as president of Youngstown State University since 2024.[1] Previously, he was the U.S. representative for Ohio's 6th congressional district from 2011 until 2024. He is a member of the Republican Party.[2]

Born in Roseboro, North Carolina, Johnson entered the United States Air Force after graduating from high school in 1973. For his time in the military, he received numerous awards and distinctions, including the Meritorious Service Medal. Following his retirement in 1999 at the rank of lieutenant colonel, Johnson co-founded Johnson-Schley Management Group, an information technology consulting company, before leaving to form J2 Business Solutions, where he was a defense contractor to the U.S. military.

In the 2010 United States House of Representatives elections, Johnson defeated incumbent U.S. representative Charlie Wilson by a margin of 5%. He was reelected to the position six times. In November 2023, the Board of Trustees at Youngstown State University offered him the position of president. Johnson accepted and resigned from Congress in January 2024 to become the 10th president of the university.

Early life and business career[edit]

William Leslie Johnson was born on November 10, 1954, in Roseboro, North Carolina.[3] After graduating from S.D. Lee High School in Columbus, Mississippi, he entered the United States Air Force in 1973.[4] Johnson graduated summa cum laude from Troy University in 1979 and from Georgia Tech in 1984 with a master's degree.[5][6] During his tenure in the U.S. Air Force, Johnson was recognized as a Distinguished Graduate from the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, Squadron Officers School, and Air Command & Staff College.[7] He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after a military career of more than 26 years.[8]

After his service in the military, he co-founded Johnson-Schley Management Group, an information technology (IT) consulting company that increased revenues by more than 200% in three years under his leadership. In 2003, he left the company to form J2 Business Solutions, where he provided executive-level IT support as a defense contractor to the U.S. military. From 2006 to 2010, he served as chief information officer of a global manufacturer of electronic components for the transportation industry.[2]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]



In May 2010, Johnson defeated two primary opponents to win the Republican nomination.[9] In the general election, he defeated incumbent Charlie Wilson, 50%–45%.[10] He began his term in the 112th United States Congress on January 3, 2011.


In November 2011, Wilson filed for a rematch in the newly redrawn 6th District, which had been made slightly friendlier to Republicans in redistricting.[11] Johnson defeated Wilson again in a heavily contested race, 53% to 47%, and began his second term in January 2013.[citation needed]


In 2014, Johnson faced Democratic nominee Jennifer Garrison, a former State Representative and lawyer from Marietta, Ohio.[12] Johnson defeated Garrison, 58% to 39%, with Green Party candidate Dennis Lambert taking 3%. He began his third term in January 2015.[citation needed]


Johnson was reelected to a fourth term in the 2016 general election, defeating Democrat Michael Lorentz, the mayor of Belpre, Ohio, 71%–29%.[13]


Johnson was reelected to a fifth term, defeating Democrat Shawna Roberts, of Barnesville, Ohio, 69%–30%.


On January 7, 2021, Johnson objected to the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results in Congress.[14]

The House passed Johnson's World War II Memorial Prayer Act, which would require the prayer President Franklin Roosevelt gave on D-Day to be placed on the World War II memorial.[15]

The House also passed Johnson's Stop the War on Coal Act, which would stop the creation of any new rules that threaten mining jobs.[15] Both pieces of legislation have been sent to the Senate for consideration. Johnson sponsored H.R. 4036, the Pass a Budget Now Act, which would cut legislators' pay if a budget is not passed by April 15 of each year.[16]

Resignation and move to Youngstown State University[edit]

On November 16, 2023, the Board of Trustees at Youngstown State University offered Johnson the position of president of the university, which Johnson accepted.[17] His appointment was met with protests over his record as an election denier, his support for Trump's so-called "Muslim ban," and his opposition to LGBT rights, as well as the lack of transparency of the hiring process.[18] Johnson resigned from the House effective January 21, 2024, and assumed the presidency at Youngstown State the following day.[19][1]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Legislation sponsored[edit]

Johnson called the EPA's ruling "absurd" and said that "it is unconscionable that the EPA has put our public safety at risk because during the hot summer months sometimes, somewhere kids may play in fire hydrant water."[28]

Political positions[edit]

During the presidency of Donald Trump, Johnson voted in line with Trump's stated position 96.8% of the time.[34] As of September 2021, Johnson had voted in line with President Joe Biden's stated position 13.9% of the time.[35]

Race relations[edit]

As protesters called for the removal of statues deemed racist, Johnson authored an opinion piece for The Washington Examiner titled "Our History Can Safeguard our Future". In his piece, Johnson opposed the toppling of statues, writing, "To really unify our country, we must pause and consider our history to provide context for our current national dialogue. We need to step out from behind our keyboards and learn more of the nuance of our shared heritage."[36]


In a candidates' questionnaire in 2010, Johnson wrote, "I am pro-life, and I oppose abortion except in the case of rape, incest, and when the mother's life is in danger. Additionally, I support parental notification and a ban on partial birth abortions." During his 2010 and 2012 campaigns, Johnson was endorsed by the Ohio Right to Life PAC.[37]

Environmental issues[edit]

At a 2016 House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Environmental Protection Agency regulations, Johnson called the agency "un-American" and accused it of "draining the lifeblood out of our businesses". His remarks prompted criticism from Democratic members of the committee.[38]

Johnson was briefly criticized on an episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver for asking a Department of Energy representative about the financial return on investment regarding the Clean Future Act, which host John Oliver compared to asking about the financial return on investment of a fire department.[39]

Gun issues[edit]

Johnson opposes further restrictions on gun ownership. The NRA Political Victory Fund endorsed him in 2012.[40]

Health care[edit]

Johnson opposes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and supports repealing it.[41][42]

Immigration and refugees[edit]

From the beginning,[43] Johnson supported President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to impose a temporary ban on entry to the U.S. to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, characterizing it as necessary to prevent terrorist attacks.[44] After the federal courts struck down the initial executive order, Johnson supported a replacement executive order imposing a revised travel ban.[43]

Same-sex marriage[edit]

Johnson opposes the legalization of same-sex marriage, saying that it "undermines the integrity of the American family".[45]

Trump administration[edit]

On December 18, 2019, Johnson held a moment of silence to remember Trump voters during House debates on articles of impeachment, saying, "This is a sad day for America. This partisan impeachment sham seeks to disenfranchise 63 million American voters... So I want to use my time to call on this chamber, for members to rise and observe a moment of silent reflection, to give every member here the chance to pause for a moment and remember the voices of the 63 million American voters the Democrats today are wanting to silence."[46]

In April 2018, Johnson defended EPA head Scott Pruitt, who was embroiled in a number of investigations over ethics violations.[47] While Pruitt was being grilled, largely along party lines, during an April 2018 hearing about the ethics concerns, Johnson said, "I think it's shameful today that this hearing has turned into a personal attack hearing and a shameful attempt to denigrate the work that's being done at the EPA and with this administration". Public officials should have ethical standards "beyond reproach ... but so should members of Congress", he added.[47][48]

In December 2020, Johnson was one of 126 Republican members of the House of Representatives to sign an amicus brief in support of Texas v. Pennsylvania, a lawsuit filed at the United States Supreme Court contesting the results of the 2020 presidential election, in which Joe Biden defeated Trump.[49] The Supreme Court declined to hear the case on the basis that Texas lacked standing under Article III of the Constitution to challenge the results of an election held by another state.[50][51][52]

Personal life[edit]

On April 30, 1975, he married Wanda Florence Porter. They had three children together.[citation needed] Johnson is Protestant.[53][54]

Electoral history[edit]

Election results[55]
Year Office Election Name Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
2010 U.S. House of Representatives General Bill Johnson Republican 103,170 50.19% Charlie Wilson Democratic 92,823 45.15% Richard Cadle Constitution 5,077 2.47% Martin Elsass Libertarian 4,505 2.19%
2012 U.S. House of Representatives General Bill Johnson Republican 164,536 53.25% Charlie Wilson Democratic 144,444 46.75%
2014 U.S. House of Representatives General Bill Johnson Republican 111,026 58.24% Jennifer Garrison Democratic 73,561 38.58% Dennis Lambert Green 6,065 3.18%
2016 U.S. House of Representatives General Bill Johnson Republican 213,975 70.68% Mike Lorentz Democratic 88,780 29.32%
2018 U.S. House of Representatives General Bill Johnson Republican 169,668 69.29% Shawna Roberts Democratic 75,196 30.71%
2020 U.S. House of Representatives General Bill Johnson Republican 249,130 74.41% Shawna Roberts Democratic 85,661 25.59%
2022 U.S. House of Representatives General Bill Johnson Republican 189,883 67.7% Louis Lyras Democratic 90,500 32.3%


  1. ^ a b Gerry Ricciutti, Lorie Barber (January 22, 2024). "Bill Johnson begins first day as YSU's president". WKBN. Retrieved January 22, 2024.
  2. ^ a b "About Bill Johnson". Bill Johnson website. Retrieved February 23, 2017.
  3. ^ "Johnson, Bill". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved January 22, 2024.
  4. ^ "Lt. Col. Bill Johnson, Ohio Congressman". American Veterans Center. Retrieved January 22, 2024.
  5. ^ Lusk, Clif (July 17, 2017). "Ohio Congressman Bill Johnson to speak at Troy". Troy Today. Retrieved January 22, 2024.
  6. ^ Skolnick, David (November 20, 2023). "U.S. Rep Bill Johnson Could Be Hired As Youngstown State President Tuesday". The Intelligencer. Retrieved January 22, 2024.
  7. ^ "Bill Johnson". Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. Retrieved January 22, 2024.
  8. ^ Skolnick, David; Logan, Richard (November 17, 2023). "Trustees seek Bill Johnson for president of YSU". The Vindicator. Retrieved January 22, 2024.
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  10. ^ "The 2010 Results Maps". Politico. Retrieved February 23, 2017.
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  13. ^ "Ohio U.S. House 6th District Results: Bill Johnson Wins". The New York Times. August 1, 2017.
  14. ^ Yourish, Karen; Buchanan, Larry; Lu, Denise (January 7, 2021). "The 147 Republicans Who Voted to Overturn Election Results". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  15. ^ a b "Bill Johnson". United States Congress. Retrieved June 23, 2017.
  16. ^ Johnson, Bill (February 15, 2012). "Pass a Budget Now Act (2012; 112th Congress H.R. 4036)". GovTrack.us. Retrieved June 23, 2017.
  17. ^ Skolnick, David; Logan, Richard. "Youngstown State University Offers President's Job to U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson". The Intelligencer Wheeling News-Register. No. 17–Nov–2023. Retrieved November 17, 2023.
  18. ^ Moody, Josh. "Youngstown State Taps Controversial Congressman as President". Inside HigherEd. No. 29–Nov–2023. Retrieved March 3, 2024.
  19. ^ Skolnick, David. "Bill Johnson to resign Jan. 21 from Congress, start as YSU president the next day". The Vindicator. No. 2–Jan–2024. Retrieved January 2, 2024.
  20. ^ "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  21. ^ "Members". Congressional Western Caucus. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  22. ^ "Member List". Republican Study Committee. Archived from the original on January 1, 2019. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  23. ^ "MEMBERS". Republican Main Street Partnership. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
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  25. ^ "Featured Members". Problem Solvers Caucus. Retrieved March 28, 2021.
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  28. ^ Kasperowicz, Pete (November 22, 2013). "House bill warns of EPA threat to fire hydrants". The Hill. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
  29. ^ "H.R. 2824 – All Actions". United States Congress. Retrieved March 4, 2014.
  30. ^ "H.R. 2824 – Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved February 28, 2014.
  31. ^ "Johnson, Lamborn Introduce Legislation To Protect Jobs, Help Stop Administration's War on Coal". Smart Energy Universe. March 3, 2014. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  32. ^ Beans, Laura (August 8, 2013). "House Republicans Use Fear Mongering In Fight for Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining". EcoWatch. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  33. ^ a b "H.R. 3548 – Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
  34. ^ Bycoffe, Aaron (January 30, 2017). "Tracking Bill Johnson In The Age Of Trump". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  35. ^ Bycoffe, Anna Wiederkehr and Aaron (April 22, 2021). "Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved September 14, 2021.
  36. ^ "Our history can safeguard our future". The Washington Examiner. July 13, 2020. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  37. ^ "Endorsements". Ohio Right to Life PAC. Retrieved June 23, 2017.
  38. ^ Devin Henry (July 6, 2016). "'Un-American' charge ignites hearing on EPA rules". The Hill.
  39. ^ The Power Grid: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO), November 7, 2021, retrieved November 10, 2021
  40. ^ "NRA-PVF | Ohio". Archived from the original on October 9, 2012. Retrieved October 9, 2012.
  41. ^ Jon Baker, Congress will target Obamacare, regulatory reform, Rep. Bill Johnson says, The Times-Reporter (January 24, 2017).
  42. ^ Johnson backs repeal of 'ObamaCare', (East Liverpool, Ohio) Review (January 17, 2017).
  43. ^ a b Why Ohio Congressman Bill Johnson Supports Trump's Revised Travel Ban, NPR, Morning Edition (March 7, 2017).
  44. ^ Blake, Aaron (January 31, 2017). "Whip Count: Here's where Republicans stand on Trump's controversial travel ban". The Washington Post.
  45. ^ "Bill Johnson: Issue Positions". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
  46. ^ Klar, Rebecca (December 18, 2019). "GOP lawmaker holds moment of silence on House floor for people who voted for Trump". The Hill. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  47. ^ a b "'Embarrassment' or 'McCarthyism': Key moments as Pruitt faces lawmakers". Politico. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
  48. ^ DiChristopher, Tom (April 26, 2018). "Embattled EPA chief Scott Pruitt tells Congress ethics claims against him are lies and half-truths". CNBC. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  49. ^ Blood, Michael R.; Riccardi, Nicholas (December 5, 2020). "Biden officially secures enough electors to become president". Associated Press. Archived from the original on December 8, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  50. ^ Liptak, Adam (December 11, 2020). "Supreme Court Rejects Texas Suit Seeking to Subvert Election". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  51. ^ "Order in Pending Case" (PDF). Supreme Court of the United States. December 11, 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  52. ^ Diaz, Daniella. "Brief from 126 Republicans supporting Texas lawsuit in Supreme Court". CNN. Archived from the original on December 12, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  53. ^ "Religious affiliation of members of 118th Congress" (PDF). PEW Research Center. Retrieved May 13, 2023.
  54. ^ "Faith on the Hill: The religious composition of the 118th Congress". Pew Research Center. Retrieved March 6, 2023.
  55. ^ "Election Results". Ohio Secretary of State. Archived from the original on August 15, 2012. Retrieved December 4, 2016.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 6th congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Representative Order of precedence of the United States
as Former US Representative
Succeeded byas Former US Representative