list of the 25 hardest working congressmen and women. I searched it for someone from Illinois, and it wasn’t until I reached number 25 that I finally found one—Tim Johnson, 63, a fifth-term Republican representative from…">
Carol Felsenthal
On politics

The 25 hardest working lawmakers—just one from Illinois

The Hill is out with its list of the 25 hardest working congressmen and women. I searched it for someone from Illinois, and it wasn’t until I reached number 25 that I finally found one—Tim Johnson, 63, a fifth-term Republican representative from…

Tim Johnson
Tim Johnson
The Hill is out with its list of the 25 hardest working congressmen and women. I searched it for someone from Illinois, and it wasn’t until I reached number 25 that I finally found one—Tim Johnson, 63, a fifth-term Republican representative from the 15th District, which runs from south of Kankakee to the Ohio River and includes Champaign-Urbana, Decatur, and Danville.

Johnson made the cut for being “constantly on his cell phone . . . usually trying to reach one of his constituents.” He claims that he spends from three to 12 hours a day trying to connect with the 650,000 people in his district and that he and his staff do ten times the average amount of constituent service. Reading the Almanac of American Politics entry on Johnson, I’m sorry he’s not running for the Senate or for the governorship.

Born and reared in Champaign-Urbana, Johnson graduated from the university and its law school, then served in the Illinois House for 24 years before winning an open seat in 2000. One of his opponents that year was the current gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady. The Almanac describes Johnson as a “moderate” with “maverick tendencies” who remained independent from the then Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert. During the George W. Bush years, Johnson voted against oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, against cuts in domestic spending, against the war in Iraq, against the surge in Iraq, and he was the only Republican to vote against renewal of a law allowing “a secret court to approve intelligence surveillance.”

Johnson’s spokesman, Phil Bloomer, said his boss has no higher political ambitions and is happy serving the 15th District. “And that’s the way he wants to keep it,” Bloomer said.

Compiled by asking lawmakers, aides, and “other officials” to name the hardest workers among the 535 senators and representatives, the list does not include “the top House and Senate leaders on both sides of the aisle . . . because it is a given that leaders work hardest.” So that excludes Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin. No one would expect Roland Burris to make the cut, but what about the other 18 members of the congressional delegation—including Congressman Mark Kirk, who has been busy running for the U.S. Senate (and correcting the military section of his resume)?

Not to worry: The Hill is currently soliciting nominations for its “50 most beautiful” list.  At least one member of the Illinois delegation, Aaron Schock (R-18), is likely to turn up (again).

P.S. The top three hardest workers? The Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, from Iowa, is number one; the Montana Democratic Senator Max Baucus is two; and Representative Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat, is three.

 

Photograph: Timjohnson.house.gov

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4 years ago
Posted by carol f

There's PPS to this post: While scanning the New York Times [http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/11/us/politics/11abort.html?ref=todayspaper] just now, I noticed the following:

On the 852-page bill to "allow gay and bisexual people to serve openly in the military," is "a little-noticed amendment...to allow privately financed abortions at military hospitals and bases."

Abortion opponents argue that the amendment will result in taxpayer money helping to "subsidize the underlying costs."

The amendment, which passed the Senate Armed Services Committee, was sponsored by Roland Burris.

4 years ago
Posted by Joan V.

I live in Urbana, and although I do not always agree with Tim Johnson's voting record (with a couple of exceptions as you've mentioned here, Carol!), he is undoubtedly a very hard worker on our behalf. He is often seen walking around town usually with a constituent. I feel he's serving us well.

4 years ago
Posted by John Powers

I am still waiting for assistance from Sen. Obama's office concerning a passport that expired while I was overseas from 4 years ago. I often wonder if anyone ever follows up on those things, probably better to inquire with Durbin's office.

It would have been quite an international incident if I had been stranded without passport in Vatican City. Thankfully, they let me pass.

JBP

4 years ago
Posted by hisgirlfriday

Hardest working legislator?

Wasn't he busted at one point in his career, I think in the Illinois house, for using a paper clip to rig his votes for him so he didn't have to be in session?

4 years ago
Posted by carol f

Yes, HISGIRLFRIDAY, you're correct.

From the October 2000 issue of Illinois Issues

"The ad [placed on behalf of Johnson's democratic opponent] highlights a 1980 incident involving Johnson's voting record at the Statehouse. A photo captured a paper clip that was lodged in Johnson's voting button so that he could vote along party lines while he was out of the chamber. The ad implies Johnson was legislating on autopilot."

http://www.lib.niu.edu/index.html

carol felsenthal

4 years ago
Posted by SKEPTICAL

Politicians like Johnson are rare in Illinois

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