Freedom to be a fan
On Sunday, millions of Americans watched the Super Bowl and some had the privilege to watch live in person, after buying tickets. But what if your tickets came with restrictions? “If you go back in time three years, no one had heard of restricted tickets,” Fan Freedom National Manager of Partnerships & Outreach Alex Johnson said. “But restricted tickets existed.” Fan Freedom protects the rights of live event ticket holders, including their right to exchange tickets. They believe that all fans have basic rights as ticket holders, and the organization supports legislation and promotes activism to protect those rights, including: When fans buy tickets, they own them. Fans have the right to buy, give away or sell their tickets however they choose, anytime they choose, in any way they choose, at any price they choose, states Fan Freedom's website. Alex's work at Fan Freedom helps enthusiastic fans who vote across the political spectrum understand the importance of the free market by using a real life example that matters to them: live-entertainment ticketing. The organization works in states across the country to block and repeal anti free-market regulations that stifle freedom among fans of music, sports, and other hobbies. “The primary successes we have had can be measured by earned media, the amount of supporters we have gained, and the legislative battles we have won,” Alex said. And winning legislative battles they have done. Their national campaign has blocked anti free-market legislation in California, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Tennessee, Texas, New Jersey, New York and Oregon. “Our 250,000 supporters have been the backbone of our organization. With their help and the help of other free-market organizations, we have been able to defeat every anti free-market bill we have faced. I personally think this is our biggest victory as an organization,” Alex said. Fan Freedom has been able to educate low-propensity voters on the values of the free-market and get them engaged in the political process through letters to the editor, OpEds, and even by testifying at legislative hearings. “Studies have shown that if the anti free-market legislation we oppose is enacted into law, the average cost of a ticket will increase by $100 in the closed market,” he continued. “Our job is not only to prevent that from happening, but also to educate voters on how they benefit from the free-market system.” The reason Alex got into politics was because of his grandfather. “When I first got to college, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, so my grandfather told me to take a political science course,” Alex said. “He did this because he was not only a staunch conservative, but he also lobbied for the candy industry during the 1970s.” And Alex's love of sports is what propelled him further into politics. “I took his advice and took Introduction to American Politics. My professor at the time would use the 1985 Chicago Bears as an analogy for everything,” he said. “As a diehard Bears fan, I immediately fell in love with politics.” While in college, Alex was active with the University of Iowa's College Republicans chapter. His senior year, Alex managed a winning City Council race and defeated a six-term incumbent. After graduation, Alex moved to Florida to sell “yachts up until the economy tanked,” he said. “When that happened I was laid off from my job and decided to get back on the campaign trail, where I worked as political director on a congressional race in Illinois. Ever since then, I have been obsessed with politics.” In addition to working at the Republican Jewish Coalition and the polling firm, Wilson Research Strategies, Alex has worked on eight campaigns. These eight campaigns have ranged from U.S. House and Senate races to local city council runs to even the presidential race to the White House. He encourages conservatives looking for employment on campaigns to look through the Leadership Institute's Conservative Jobs website. “I have found several great positions through Conservative Jobs and I highly recommend it to everyone,” Alex said. Alex's boss encouraged him to take Leadership Institute training. “I first learned of the Leadership Institute (LI) from a former boss,” Alex said. “I was a junior staffer and wanted to learn more about campaigns so he told me to take an LI course. I took the little savings I had and flew to Arlington for the Campaign Management School and attended the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC),” Alex said. In February 2010, Alex took LI's week-long Campaign Management School. “I have taken numerous LI trainings since then and will continue to do so. The Leadership Institute is a phenomenal organization that is truly the backbone of the conservative movement.” Alex has taken LI's week-long Campaign Management School in February 2010, Activist Workshop in January 2011, Fundraising Workshop in January 2011, Public Speaking Workshop in March 2013, Issues That Unite: Latinos & Conservatism Communications Workshop in June 2013, and attended many LI events. “The Leadership Institute has not only helped me improve myself as a professional, but having taken courses at LI and having it on my resume is a door opener,” he admitted. “The Leadership Institute has alumni throughout the country and when you see a resume that has LI on it, it is an immediate qualifier that shows you know what you are doing because you were trained by the best.” Campaigns are Alex's priority and passion in life. “Even though I am busy with Fan Freedom, I am always working with various organizations, candidates, and consultants to help get true conservatives elected to office. My main passion is, and will always be, campaigns,” he said. “With DC the way it is today, I personally believe that we need to start recruiting and electing more conservative candidates that will vote their conscience instead of the party line to help bring this country back to the way it was under President Reagan.” Alex urges all conservatives to work long and hard for their values. “Work as hard as you possibly can and then work even harder,” Alex said. “Life is not easy and politics is one of the hardest industries out there. It is up to us to knock on every door or tally up every vote to make sure we win. We have seen what happens when we lose - we get Obamacare rammed down our throats. It is up to us to make sure that this never happens again. If that means you may not get any sleep for a month, you have to do it. The country is depending on us as conservatives and libertarians to unite and take the country back from the extremists on the left.” Please congratulate Alex Johnson for his work to educate live-entertainment fans about the value of the free market through Fan Freedom, and please applaud him for receiving LI's Conservative Leader-In-Training Award. “The Leadership Institute is the foundation to a successful future. You can learn so much from LI and apply it to all aspects of your life, not just your career,” Alex said. “With the lessons you learn from the Leadership Institute, you are put ahead of others in the political field and are given the tools to be as successful in politics as you can possibly be. It is an amazing organization filled with even more amazing people and provides individuals a place to learn things that you cannot learn anywhere else in the world.” To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate or faculty member for the Conservative Leader Award or Conservative Leader-In-Training Award, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Lauren Day, at Lauren@LeadershipInstitute.org.