Richard Johnson, Renegade Politician Pt. 2

(If you missed part one, CLICK HERE)

Like Neo in the Matrix; Richard is well aware that many people like the idea of being in the (political) game, and most of them agree to the rules already in place. In that knowing, there is systemic conformity of illusions that this guy seems to be willing to entangle with for the sake of curiosity of his own logical power and the power of the logical people.
Richards greatest power is his broad range of interests, and his ability to speak for the under spoken and disenfranchised.

He is highly researched in history; wars, and all topics relating to social study. His own inquisitive and rebellious nature gives him inquisition into laws, ordinances and how governments influence societies.
Rich has had more than one friend who has been homeless, and seemingly lost in hopeless drug problems. He cares about people and quality of life, but not in mainstream “One Up Your Neighbor with Meaningless BS for The Sake of It” kind of way.

He speaks kindly of Mayor Richard Kaysen, whom he has had the ability to get to know through these socio/political events. Rich appreciates Kaysen’s’ passion for children and veterans, he enjoys how Kaysen asserts his passion for these demographics publicly. Richard speaks out lovingly toward our current Mayor all while admitting that they agree to disagree on some of the finer points when it comes to things politically.
Perhaps an example of how Richard speaks for the underdog is that he knows a sub-community full of reformed felons; basically, people who did something stupid in their late teens and early twenties that they have since, and will continue to pay the price for with an unsavory label.

Individuals, who are now older, wiser, productive assets in our little society.

Individuals who now have kids that they care about.  Children whose futures matter, and are hopefully not lost in some stupid legal red tape that they can never cross.

Johnson makes a clear fact that certain labels come with a “keep out” sign when it applies to a voice in the voting booth.


Richard has been the voice of the unspoken community of Cheyenne, and the greater state of Wyoming by going to local business’ and public hangouts in order to petition for Medical Cannabis.

His ability to get signatures was some what squashed by the fact that those who would like a vote on the Medical Cannabis platform, are unable to, because of said previous felony status.

You know what? The only people I represent are the people who never had a fucking voice, ever. And literally, yesterday when I went and wrote (to the public) about what I stand for in my campaign ;  and it’s ‘no signs, no money, no this, no that,’ People, were like, ‘shit, I don’t know if I would really support you for Mayor, but Jesus Christ, did you read my fucking mind when you wrote that shit?’

People are pissed…but you know the (one) thing that sucks is, I would have a lot more voters if felons were allowed to vote. When I was doing the Medical petition and I went to the tattoo parlor, I was like ‘ Ah shit, I will probably clean house! Probably get 50- 60 signatures,’ and yet everyone had to turn me away because, everyone was a fucking felon.

So literally everyone I hang out with.

 I said it in the debate for City Council, ‘Where do you get your feedback from?’

I get it from felons…ya know? People who usually screwed up sometime between 18 and 25, and now they are paying for it…and they can’t vote for me because of something they fucked up in the past.

I mean who would have thought that I would be the candidate to work with the police the most? I talk to the Chief of Police, every week. I never would have thought that.”


Richard speaks well of Chief Kozak, and how he has done great things for the police force and the city of Cheyenne.  Rich was empathetic toward Kozaks’ desire to get hired closer to his family in Minnesota while simultaneously being glad that we get to keep the Chief for a while longer.

Johnsons’ greatest fear with the transfer of  Kozak, being that Kozak, would be replaced with a person who is “a cop first and foremost” running with a “good ole boy” mentality, stuck on archaic laws and ways of asserting them.

According to Rich, Kozak comes across as a family man who is interested most in serving the safety and well being of this town; willing to work with various individuals and entities in order to do the job well.
I have a great Chief of Police. I couldn’t ask for a better one. He listens to me when I speak, and together we are looking at (the laws and ordinances for) spitting, weapons, chickens, electric fences, and food trucks…

I have to work with the police… so I have to ask ‘ okay, what do you do?’ And I told them, I know Wyoming is in a budgetary crunch, so when I go to Kozak, I ask ‘ What do you need me to do, to make you and your guys’ lives easier; with the resources we have, and maybe, actually solve some crime?’
Richard wants to seek out the weak spots as a community and fix them, or at least call them out so they can be put on a path to fixing. He notices that we have plenty of “fluff laws”… just words in a book, ready to be used by lawyers in the right situation… however many are no longer enforced due to stipulations within certain licenses and ordinances.
Recently Rich attacked the broad legal definition of “weapon”; siting to Kozak that one can legally walk around the State with a 9mm, but brass knuckles and pocket knives were subject to citation. Meanwhile, in this argument, Johnson has been fed some backlash by those who believe the language will somehow save their loved ones; to which Rich responds;
“This is what I literally wrote to Kozak when I brought up this weapons thing…

I was like ‘ I can carry a 9mm anywhere I want to go, in the state of Wyoming; but if I have brass knuckles or a knife in my pocket… I can get a citation?

I asked, ‘how the hell is that right? If I have a gun… am I not at the top of the fucking food chain? What’s in my pocket, doesn’t fucking matter.

And then another councilman brought up that I am putting his wife in danger because of my desire to repel all this language on weapons. He said “Richard, my kids, and my wife might be in danger because some kid might have brass knuckles in their pocket… and that puts them in danger.”

And I am like, ‘ here is the thing, let’s take the nursery rhyme about schools and books and pencils and dirty looks’.

I could take a sharpened pencil and stab you in the fucking throat, or I could take a textbook, (if kids even use textbooks anymore… most likely a tablet,) but I could take a tablet and smash your fucking face. And, so, that is blunt force trauma and injury from a stabbing utensil… but guess what? I am not repealing assault and battery.

If I assault someone, it doesn’t matter what I use; it’s still assault and battery. If you get an assault charge, what matter does it make, what utensil you used?”
Richard Johnson appears to be logically taking language into consideration when it comes to real-life situations regarding the law. He is actively working with law enforcement to make laws more accessible to the community, all while challenging the establishment, in one broad, albeit a rather non-threatening swoop.
I make a mental question as to why anyone is complaining or refuting his stance in a primarily Republican state that likes to keep the law at bay.

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Many of Wyoming’s citizens are hands-off when it comes to delving in legal matters; unless absolutely necessary.

Richard is directly attacking those issues with his own confrontational questions and comparisons. These seemingly inane issues have become very relevant, given his close interaction with people who have criminal records. People in our own community that would like to get on with their lives as productive people.
A highlight of one of Rich’s recent trips landed him in a five-story museum dedicated solely to weapons and their use through time. He was able to see, historically, how people have used the most rudimentary and accessible items, to create weapons meant to hurt another human. Whether a pointed stick; a rock tied to a stick, a backpack of shrapnel and marbles in a pressure cooker all the way to drones and laser-guided missiles; one doesn’t have to seek out a license or distributor of “weapons”, in order to create destruction… language isn’t going to change that.

What matters most; is holding those who do harm, accountable for their actions. Richard then reminds me of the Oklahoma City bombing that was the byproduct of a fertilizer explosion in a rented van.


The internet is rife with content, and one need not venture out to the local library, anymore, for a copy of the Anarchist Cookbook. Every avenue of destruction a vengeful being may seek is right at their fingertips.
“You should be a little afraid of what you are seeing. Outward appearances are everything. I wear a costume, people don’t think it’s a costume but it’s a costume to wear a fucking suit. But people say that is what you have to do to be taken seriously. You wear a fucking suit.”


Richard Johnson puts the suit on when required, and to a certain degree, I am sure he is afraid of it.

Afraid that it will have power over him much like the Stanford Prison Experiments had over those students back in 1971… where the lives of some kids changed quickly and forever, based on some uniforms and supposed labels of positions of authority.

Quite simply put, a series of imposed labels, aligned expectations, and illusions. This seems to be one of the ways our local representative Richard Johnson, is peeling back the layers of the onion that is our own micro Matrix.

Richard Johnson, Renegade Politician Pt.1

If you are a Cheyenne resident-voter that follows local politics, the name of Richard Johnson, has probably popped up in conversation more than once around the water cooler.

In all seriousness, it appears that he has a completely diametric effect on those who have taken notice of his politics; whether from the outside looking in, or first hand. You either love him, hate him or find yourself completely confused by him and his presence in the political arena.

Some may say, though, that “is par for the course when it comes to politicians.” Rich, however, is far from par for the course when it comes to politics.

And, now, our Black Sheep Councilman, is running for Mayor, on a write-in campaign.

Richard is a life long resident of Cheyenne.

He has been labeled as “subversive” or “controversial” and those labels are nothing new when it comes to how he chooses to play his role in the game of society.

From a young age, Rich was getting things done in a manner of hard grit sandpaper. Ruffling feathers with his ideas; all while making strong attempts to involve sub-sectors of our community, places, and ways- to feel included in the conversation.

Take for instance, his involvement and passion to help get the skate park built.

I remember this town before there was a skate park. I didn’t skate but many of my friends did and I knew how badly they wanted a place to go; a magical place where they could do what  they wanted to; a place where they weren’t going to get yelled at or cited for “illegal skating.”

Rich was just a few years older; he cared about skating AND politics enough to jump in,  quickly discovering the depth of agendas when building something new in a city.  Ultimately it all came down to politics and support of the community.

At a first and superficial glance, some may assume that Rich is just out to break things.

Breaking the systems and people who view him as obstructive or destructive… but can One individual really break something that is already blocked and/ or broken? Can One individual use their own transparency to show others that they need not pretend that superficial fixes and ignorance will alleviate a certain history of systematic dysfunction, that no longer fits our growing and changing the economy?

I suppose Richard is out to challenge that in a very direct way that will yet again ruffle feathers.

This is not to say that in the process of his involvement, officially with the City Council, that he hasn’t himself changed, and noticeably so…

It’s a moody spring day in Cheyenne, Thursday in the third week of May; we decide to meet up at the new Danielmark’s Brewpub, to discuss his effect on the community, and the reasons for the write-in campaign.

Rich looks like I feel; tired, and perhaps retaining some water. On his head is a black ball cap that proclaims “DON’T ASK ME 4 SHIT!”… ironic accessory to wear to an interview… when all I have is answers to ask for.

As per usual, he has also accessorized with one of his favorite black metal band t-shirts; today it’s Panzerfaust. According to Wikipedia

“Panzerfaust is an inexpensive, single shot, recoil-less German anti-tank weapon of World War II. It consists of a small, disposable pre-loaded launch tube firing a high-explosive anti-tank warhead, and was intended to be operated by a single soldier. “

This could be the end of this article. Whether or not he realizes it (and I guess that he does), he sums himself up consistently, without the help of others.

My hope for this series of pieces is to give you a more clear view of where Rich stands on topics effecting this town.  For those of you who may be on the fence, or just on the side of the fence where the haters hang out; This is for you.

We grab our brews, and head out to the nice new Danielmark’s patio, and jump straight into it.

“Well, Rich, tell me about how you have become who you’ve hated?”

Basically, over the last month, I have done a huge paradigm shift from who I was before January 5, 2015. Pretty much before that, I was an idealist, and now I am the fucking worst pessimist you’ve ever fucking met.

“So you basically skipped realism, and jumped straight to pessimism?”

Yeah, it’s pretty much, this whole escapade is a total fucking failure. At least my site lives up to it’s name now. (The infamous FaceBook page “Richard Johnson, You Failed This City)

“Why are you feeling so disappointed?”

Well, because I know that there are ebbs and flows, and right now it’s on a flow, and soon it will be on an ebb…and we’re going to get another old man as Mayor. And I bet you that this year the status quo is going to go out in droves and kill everything (progressive.) I was actually waiting for more candidates to run against me, not because of who I am, but basically because of what I stand for. So I thought there would be a lot more opposition candidates. I mean they have nine more days to file… I figured they would come in a put the kibosh on it. I mean if they really look at it, I haven’t done anything except repeal some laws and ordinances. Like spitting is coming up, and weapons. Basically (the) chickens was a thing that nobody thought should happen, but I just did it to piss people off.

“Are you maybe just being a little too hard on yourself? I mean, you have only been in the position a year, and it probably takes at least a year to figure out what you are doing, since you hadn’t done it before.”

No, I knew exactly what I was doing. I did it with the skate park. I knew what government was all about, that’s why I thought I could just, kind of, mesh in. But, you know, really, it’s just smoke and mirrors. I don’t really feel like anything has really been accomplished in seventeen months.

“But, you didn’t have a clear plan, right?”

No. And I never do. I never run on that type of shit. I told them, that I have no agenda. For my write in, let’s just say that this community better hope I’m never elected for Mayor.

“What does that even mean?”

I will raise the impact fees for developers. I will never have a sixpenny or seven penny tax, where you have to pay for a fire station because a developer wants to keep a couple of million for themselves. I WILL RAISE IMPACT FEES, and I WILL make developers pay for fire stations and more police officers. And I know, the Chamber of Commerce is going to come after me and tell me that I am not supporting local business. Then the Council is going to flip flop on me because they are a bunch of cowards. They are going to get scared that suddenly local business’ that hires local employees, is going to get the shaft again. If you look at inflation rates the Walmart on Livingston paid $125.00 for their final flat.”

Richard then explains his observation of wasted funds on spaces, with things like landscaping, in the name of “beautification” with plants that are having a hard time surviving in our climate at the times of year that they are planted. At the same time he is addressing his experience with the community complaining about the overgrown Green Way, that is justified to not be trimmed as a means of “trash mitigation and purification of waters with natural grasslands.”

Johnson makes note that Cheyenne lacks a specific beautification plan that is symbiotic with the climate and environment of the city and surrounding areas, and that citizens and business’ are wasting funds yearly on everything but long-lasting beautification solutions that can also add to the potential uniqueness of Cheyenne.

Maybe it was the topics of trash and monetary waste; that the conversation led next to the other Mayoral Candidates running for office.

As you may have heard before this article, Johnson is running on a write-in campaign. No signs, no banners, no $25.00 entry fee to put his name in the hat. He doesn’t think you need to spend money on a campaign, and he is out to prove it in his own renegade way. Some people are laughing, I know… and maybe I am giggling a little on the inside, too. My reason is, “you never know until you try, and if you don’t put any money in… what do you have to lose?” Right?

A slight controversy recently came up online, after Marian Orr announced her Mayoral bid with videos, balloons and bright orange posters. Richard boiled it down to gimmicks and things that would end up as trash in peoples yards.   In turn, he encouraged  voters to avoid posters on their lawns and in their business’, and instead, actually investigate what the constituents were currently doing in the community that would prove they should have a seat ( whether City Council, Mayor, or beyond.)

Social Media followers of Richard Johnson and active participants in the community eager to try their hand at city council agreed with his logic. Gabe Pina of Pina Accounting and the Downtown Cheyenne Business Coop is running for a seat in Ward 3 City Council.  He was inspired to ask his supporters to donate to one of several community charities in lieu of campaign donations.

I almost feel like an asshole now, every time I go into a new business opening because I am surrounded by fake assholes. I am surrounded by ‘candidates’. It’s almost like everything I have done for the last year and a half on my own was “Oh I am elected, now I have to really go out and support my community. “

And support his community he did. “Richard Johnson, You Failed This City” has been just as abuzz with community events as it has been with Johnson’s personal rants; raves, observations, controversial pictures and not so rhetorical questions.

Anything having to do with Cheyenne; issues within the community have been posted to his social media participants, by Richard himself. Concerns by the public have been emailed to him, and he has posted them anonymously to gauge the interest of the community with topics raised. Overall, Rich has made a pretty concerted effort to attend as many events as possible regardless of niche or perceived “cool” factor.

More than once, Richard has arrived unannounced, and not specifically invited. And, perhaps to some onlookers, who may have been selfly placated in their own perceived superiority; were the least impressed with the effort in which Mr. Johnson was asserting himself into political circles concerning this community in the fine state of Wyoming.

So, though perhaps not out to impress, Richard Johnson is more willing than others to play the game and attempt to beat it by breaking the status quo.  Whether he breaks it, or perhaps just overloads the system; there is bound to be an impact for Cheyenne.

(To go to Part 2, CLICK HERE)