The New Speaker of the House Is No Stranger to the Convenience Industry

The top three Republican leaders have all participated in the NACS In Store program.

October 26, 2023

After three weeks of Republican intraparty fighting, the House finally elected its 56th speaker yesterday. Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) won the gavel in a 220 to 209 party-line vote. The vote ended weeks of fighting within the Republican conference following the removal of former speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

Johnson has been viewed as an up-and-coming member of Republican leadership and was first elected in 2016, making him one of the least tenured members to ever serve as speaker. He assumed the roll of vice chair of the Republican Conference earlier this year, but his meteoric rise to the office of the speaker has caught many in Washington somewhat off guard. While many in the Washington lobbying world are scrambling to get to know the new speaker, the convenience industry has a leg up.

Johnson was the guest of NACS board member Annie Gauthier at her Y-Not Stop store in Oakdale, Louisiana, just last year. The Congressman participated in the NACS In Store program in July 2022, when he learned about the inner workings of our industry and saw firsthand what goes into running a convenience store. Annie and her team at Y-Not Stop gave Johnson a tour of their new store and helped him serve his constituents from behind the counter. Johnson tweeted later that he enjoyed the visit and got to sample “some of the best Cajun kabobs anywhere”. He also thanked the St. Romain family and NACS for hosting the event.

Johnson isn’t the only member of Congressional leadership to have participated in a NACS In Store event over the past few years. In fact, with his assumption of the role of speaker, now each of the top three Republican leaders have participated in the program. Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) visited a Lard Oil Company On the Run store in August of 2015. In March of 2018, Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN) got behind the counter of a Kwik Trip in St. Cloud, Minnesota, and encouraged folks at the pump to come inside to try out some of Kwik Trip’s famous Dunkers. NACS also hosted Patrick McHenry (R-NC), who is now former speaker pro tempore and Financial Services Committee Chair, in August 2018 at a QuikTrip in Gastonia, North Carolina. The ranks of current House leaders who have participated in a NACS In Store event also includes the chair of the Ways and Means Committee and the chair and ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, among others.

Learn more about the NACS In Store program here.