Former Republican Gov. Gary Johnson was the top elected official in New Mexico from 1994 through 2002. He took office after beating a primary opponent backed by the Republican party and won election twice in a state that has two-to-one Democratic advantage in registration.
Born in 1953 and a one-time competitive skiier, Johnson was not your typical governor. Instead, he governed as fiscally responsible and socially tolerant. He didn't raise taxes at all during his time in office and pushed through an aggressive privatization agenda that reduced costs while improving services. He vetoed 750 bills and trimmed the state workforace by 1,000 positions at the same time. He was also the highest-level elected politician and one of the most vocal proponent of drug legalization during his tenure.
Johnson is now fronting the Our America initiative, which is dedicated to advancing the public debate on topics ranging from immigration to civil liberties to free enterprise to the federal deficit to the war on drugs to Afghanistan and Iraq. He is frequently mentioned as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2012.
Reason's Matt Welch and Nick Gillespie talked with Johnson about the issues of the day-and what it was like to climb Mt. Everest with a busted leg.
Approximately 10 minutes. Shot by Dan Hayes and Meredith Bragg; edited by Bragg.
Note: This is a condensed version of a longer interview. For the full half-hour version, go here.
Back in 2001, Reason called Johnson "the most dangerous politician in America." Find out why.