Tim Johnson (South Dakota politician)
|United States Senator
from South Dakota
January 3, 1997 – January 3, 2015
|Preceded by||Larry Pressler|
|Succeeded by||Mike Rounds|
|Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee|
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2015
|Preceded by||Chris Dodd|
|Succeeded by||Richard Shelby|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Dakota's At-large district
January 3, 1987 – January 3, 1997
|Preceded by||Tom Daschle|
|Succeeded by||John Thune|
|Born||Timothy Peter Johnson
December 28, 1946
Canton, South Dakota, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of South Dakota|
Timothy Peter "Tim" Johnson (born December 28, 1946) was a United States Senator from South Dakota from 1997 to 2015. A member of the Democratic Party, he previously served as the United States Representative for South Dakota's at-large congressional district from 1987 to 1997 and in the state legislature from 1979 to 1987. Johnson chose not to seek reelection in 2014.
Early life, education and career
Johnson was born in Canton, South Dakota, the son of Ruth Jorinda (née Ljostveit) and Vandel Charles Johnson. He has Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish ancestry. Raised in Vermillion, Johnson earned a B.A. in 1969 and an M.A. in 1970 from the University of South Dakota, where he was a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. After doing post-graduate studies at Michigan State University from 1970 to 1971, a period during which he worked for the Michigan State Senate, Johnson returned to the University of South Dakota and earned his J.D. in 1975. Immediately after earning his law degree, he went into private practice.
Early political career
Johnson served in the South Dakota House of Representatives from 1979 to 1982 and in the South Dakota Senate from 1983 to 1986. Johnson served as Clay County deputy state's attorney in 1985 during his tenure in the South Dakota Senate.
Johnson was elected to the United States House of Representatives from South Dakota's at-large congressional district in 1986. During his first term, he introduced more legislation than any other freshman member of the House. Between 1991 and 1994, he served as a regional whip for the Democratic Party. He left the House in 1997, when he took up his newly acquired Senate seat.
United States Senate
- Committee on Appropriations
- Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development
- Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans' Affairs, and Related Agencies (Chairman)
- Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
- Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
- Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs (Chairman)
- Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
- Committee on Indian Affairs
During his tenure in Congress, Johnson made it a priority to support infrastructure projects that delivered clean drinking water to communities throughout South Dakota and into surrounding states. He authored several water project bills, resulting in clean drinking water being delivered to hundreds of thousands of South Dakota families.
During his first term in the House of Representatives, Congressman Tim Johnson authored the Mni Wiconi Project Act of 1988 (H.R. 2772, enacted into law as Public Law 100-516). The measure authorized construction of a water project serving an area of southwestern South Dakota that included the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, an area that had long suffered low water supplies and poor water quality. The project currently serves more than 50,000 residents, many of whom reside in some of the poorest counties in the United States.
In subsequent years, Johnson authored legislation (H.R. 3954) to expand the Mni Wiconi Rural Water Project service area, and the expansion was incorporated into a broader bill and enacted as Public Law 103-434.
Johnson’s Mid Dakota Rural Water System Act of 1991 (H.R. 616) was incorporated into a larger package of infrastructure projects and enacted into law as Public Law 102-575. The Mid Dakota Rural Water Project was completed in 2006 and serves more than 30,000 residents of east-central South Dakota.
The Fall River Rural Water Users District Rural Water System Act of 1998 (S. 744 in the 105th Congress, enacted as Public Law 105-352) authorized the Bureau of Reclamation to construct a rural water system in Fall River County of South Dakota. After years of drought, residents in the southeastern area of that county had been left without a suitable water supply, and many of them were forced to either haul water or use bottled water because of poor water quality.
The Lewis and Clark Rural Water System Act of 1999 (S.244 in the 106th Congress) authorized construction of a water delivery system spanning a broad area of southeastern South Dakota, northwestern Iowa, and southwestern Minnesota. The fast-growing population of the region had made it clear that existing water infrastructure throughout the area would become insufficient, and the system joined 22 rural water systems and communities. The authorized project was intended to bring clean, safe drinking water to 180,000 individuals throughout the Lewis and Clark service region. Due to population growth, the service area currently encompasses more than 300,000 residents. While much of the South Dakota portion of the system has been constructed, federal budget problems have slowed completion of the project.
The Perkins County Rural Water System Act (S.2117 in the 105th Congress and S.243 in the 106th Congress, enacted as Public Law 106-136) authorized the Bureau of Reclamation to construct a rural water system in Perkins County of South Dakota, serving approximately 2,500 residents including the communities of Lemmon and Bison.
Johnson worked for decades to enact a requirement that meat and other agricultural products be labeled for country of origin. Having first authored legislation addressing the issue in 1992 (H.R. 5855), Johnson continued the fight until a meat labeling law was enacted in 2002 as part of the Farm Bill reauthorization (Public Law 107-171). The enacted law contained language Johnson had introduced as S. 280 earlier that Congress).
For more than a decade, executive branch opposition and legal challenges delayed implementation of the labeling law. Johnson continued fighting for full implementation of the COOL law, which was contested by trading partners and the meat industry. Johnson is continuing to call for full implementation of the labeling law.
In 2013 the National Farmers Union presented Johnson with its Friend of the Family Farmer award, a high honor intended to recognize his commitment to helping small scale family farms remain viable.
Johnson authored the bill establishing the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site in western South Dakota. The measure was enacted as Public Law 106-115, creating a new unit of the National Park System. At the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, visitors can learn about the Cold War, and the nuclear missiles that threatened massive destruction while also serving as a deterrent to war.
After years of working to expand economic opportunity for South Dakotans, Johnson developed what he termed his Hometown Prosperity Plan to help grow the South Dakota economy and improve financial prospects for citizens of the state.
Defense and Veterans Issues
Senator Tim Johnson was the only seated member of Congress to have a son or daughter serving in the active duty military when the Senate voted to approve the use of force in Iraq. Johnson’s oldest son, Brooks, served in the Army’s 101st Airborne Division, which would surely be mobilized to fight in Iraq. Johnson ultimately voted to permit the use of force, and his son served admirably in Iraq, having already served in other conflicts in Bosnia and Kosovo. Brooks Johnson would later go on to serve in the conflict in Afghanistan as well.
As Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, Johnson secured full and timely funding for veterans health care for the first time in 21 years. Johnson was also among a group of legislators that successfully pressed for enactment of legislation providing advance funding for veterans health care, thereby preventing health services for veterans from being undermined by funding delays.
When the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission recommended closure of Ellsworth Air Force Base, Johnson was instrumental in making the South Dakota delegation’s case to keep the base open. Ultimately, the base was preserved by an 8 to 1 vote of the BRAC commission.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection measure also created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency designed to enforce consumer protection laws involving a wide range of topics including predatory lending, reigning in corrosive Wall Street practices, and ensuring consumers have adequate information to make informed choices concerning financial products. The CFPB began operating in 2011, but it was without a confirmed director for two years because Republicans objected to creation of the agency and made it clear they would withhold support for any nominee to head the agency. Though Richard Cordray was nominated by President Obama to be the first head of the agency, Republicans opposed confirmation. Lacking a confirmed director, the agency was unable to write new rules or perform other functions for which it had been formed.
As Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Johnson pressed for confirmation and ultimately brought Cordray’s nomination to a committee vote. The committee approved Cordray’s nomination on a party-line 12-10 vote, and Cordray was ultimately confirmed by the full Senate on a 66-34 vote.
While in the House, Johnson was among the minority of his party to vote in favor of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 – a welfare reform bill – and another bill to repeal the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. He was among the minority of Democrats to vote for President George W. Bush's 2001 tax cut. On January 31, 2006, Johnson was one of only four Democrats to vote to confirm Judge Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court. He has also called for "broadened use" of the death penalty.
Johnson was, however, among the minority of senators to vote against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which was strongly supported by pro-life groups. While a member of the House, he was one of only 16 congressmen to vote against the Telecom Act of 1996, which provided for deregulation and competition in the communication sector and was given firm support by Republicans, business groups, and most Democrats.
Paul Hazen, NCBA president, made the presentation to Johnson’s staff at the NCBA annual meeting in Arlington, Virginia. Hazen praised Johnson for consistently supporting the Rural Cooperative Development Grants (RCDG) program which, typically funded at $6 million annually, is the only federal grants program devoted solely to forming and expanding co-ops.
Johnson supported President Barack Obama's health reform legislation; he voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009, and he voted for the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.
In May 2010, Johnson introduced the Tony Dean Cheyenne River Valley Conservation Act of 2010, a bill that would designate over 48,000 acres (190 km2) of the Buffalo Gap National Grassland as protected wilderness. The act would allow the continuation of grazing and hunting on the land and would create the first national grassland wilderness in the country.
Johnson was treated for prostate cancer in 2004 and further tests showed that he was clear of the disease. On December 13, 2006, during the broadcast of a live radio interview from Washington with WNAX radio in Yankton, South Dakota, Johnson suffered bleeding in the brain caused by a cerebral arteriovenous malformation, a congenital defect that causes enlarged and tangled blood vessels. In critical condition, he underwent surgery at George Washington University Hospital to drain the blood and stop further bleeding. Johnson then underwent a lengthy regimen of physical, occupational, and speech therapy to gain strength and mobility and restore his severely affected speech. In his 2007 State of the Union Address, President George W. Bush wished Johnson well.
On February 15, 2007, Johnson marked his return to Senate work by co-sponsoring his first piece of legislation since his illness, the Emergency Farm Relief Act of 2007. Johnson returned to his full schedule in the Senate on September 5, 2007 to both tributes and standing ovations.
Johnson narrowly defeated three-term Senator Larry Pressler (R) in the 1996 U.S. Senate election, making him the only Senate candidate to defeat an incumbent in a general election, in a year that saw thirteen open seats. In 2002, he defeated his successor in the at-large House seat, U.S. Representative John Thune (R), by 524 votes to win re-election. Johnson's re-election race was widely seen as a proxy battle between President George W. Bush, who had carried South Dakota comfortably in 2000, and the state's senior Senator and Johnson's fellow Democrat, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who was subsequently up for re-election in 2004 and lost to Thune. In his 2002 election, Johnson won ninety-four percent of the vote among the Oglala Sioux, South Dakota's biggest tribe.
Johnson ran for reelection in 2008. While he was recovering earlier in the campaign season, fellow Democratic senators raised funds on behalf of his campaign. Early polls showed Johnson likely to beat the Republican challenger, Joel Dykstra, and he did, with 62.5% of the vote.
|Year||Democratic||Votes||Pct||Republican||Votes||Pct||3rd Party||Party||Votes||Pct||3rd Party||Party||Votes||Pct|
|1986||Tim Johnson||171,462||59%||Dale Bell||118,261||41%|
|1988||Tim Johnson||223,759||72%||David Volk||88,157||28%|
|1990||Tim Johnson||173,814||68%||Don Frankenfeld||83,484||32%|
|1992||Tim Johnson||230,070||69%||John Timmer||89,375||27%||Ronald Wieczorek||Independent||6,746||2%||Robert J. Newland||Libertarian||3,931||1%||*|
|1994||Tim Johnson||183,036||60%||Jan Berkhout||112,054||37%||Ronald Wieczorek||Independent||10,832||4%|
*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 1992, Ann Balakier received 2,780 votes.
|1996||Tim Johnson||166,533||51%||Larry Pressler||157,954||49%|
|2002||Tim Johnson||167,481||50%||John Thune||166,949||49%||Kurt Evans||Libertarian||3,071||1%|
|2008||Tim Johnson||237,866||62.5%||Joel Dykstra||142,778||37.5%|
- "Sen. Tim Johnson to retire in 2014, giving GOP new pickup target". The Hill. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- "rootsweb Search". ancestry.com. Retrieved 2007-10-26.
- [dead link]
- "Sen. Tim Johnson (D)". National Journal Almanac. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
- "Tim Johnson on the Issues". OnTheIssues.org. Retrieved 2006-12-20.
Broaden use of death penalty. (Jan 1996)
- "Sen. Johnson Wins Honored Cooperator Award". Credit Union Journal. May 7, 2007. Retrieved 11 September 2010.
- "U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote". Senate.gov. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- "Conservation Group Hails Introduction of Grassland Wilderness Bill". South Dakota Wild Grassland Coalition. May 5, 2010. Retrieved 11 September 2010.
- Cook, Andrea J. (June 16, 2010). "Neighbors disagree on grasslands wilderness". Rapid City Journal. Retrieved 11 September 2010.
- "Senate Vote 281 - Repeals ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell'". The New York Times.
- "Biography of Senator Tim Johnson". Tim Johnson Senate website. Archived from the original on 2006-12-16. Retrieved 2006-12-20.
- "Sen. Johnson recovering after brain surgery". MSNBC.com. Associated Press. 2006-12-14. Retrieved 2006-12-23.
He underwent prostate cancer treatment in 2004, and subsequent tests have shown him to be clear of the disease.
- "Senator in Critical Condition". CNN.com. 2006-12-14. Retrieved 2006-12-14.
Johnson, 59, was in critical condition Thursday morning after surgery...
- Jalonick, Mary Clare (January 19, 2007). "Ailing South Dakota Senator on the Mend". CBS. Associated Press. Archived from the original on April 4, 2014.
- Bush, George W. (January 23, 2007). "President Bush's 2007 State of the Union Address". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-01-24.
- "Hospitalized Sen. Tim Johnson Co-Sponsors Bill". February 16, 2007
- Mlbank, Dana (September 6, 2007). "Senate Family Welcomes Cousin Tim . . . Not So Much Uncle Larry". Washington Post.
- Johnson, Dirk (22 October 2008). "In South Dakota Race, Gauging the Impact of a Senator’s Health". New York Times. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
- "Election 2008: South Dakota Senate". Rasmussen Reports. March 7, 2008.
- Johnson backs Obama
- "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved 2007-08-08.
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Project Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at The Library of Congress
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|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Dakota's at-large congressional district
|Party political offices|
|Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from South Dakota
1996, 2002, 2008
|United States Senate|
|U.S. Senator (Class 2) from South Dakota
Served alongside: Tom Daschle, John Thune
|Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee