By ALLYSIA FINLEY –
‘I try to forget I had a good life,” Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson wistfully quips about his career before being elected in 2010—or as good a life as could be had running a business in the midst of an unrelenting regulatory and rhetorical assault from Washington.
Mr. Johnson jumped into the fire two years ago when he toppled progressive Democrat Russ Feingold in one of the year’s marquee Senate races. He met with Journal editors this week to discuss what he has learned during his first two years in office and what he hopes to accomplish in the next four. Here’s a hint: A lot will depend on this presidential election.
The plain-spoken Oshkosh businessman stands out in the Senate, and not merely because he’s unaffected. As Mr. Johnson pointed out in one campaign ad, the Senate in 2010 included 57 lawyers (Mr. Feingold was one) but zero manufacturers and just one accountant. With Mr. Johnson, the Senate gained a manufacturer and an accountant.
The Republican helped start a plastics-manufacturing business with his brother-in-law in 1979, when he was 24 years old. Over the course of three decades, the company grew into one of the world’s largest producers of medical-device packaging. It was easier, he says, to build a business when there weren’t “30 years of additional rules and regulations that have been piled upon our economy.”