|United States Senator|
from South Dakota
January 3, 1997 - January 3, 2015
|Chair of the Senate Banking Committee|
January 3, 2011 - January 3, 2015
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from South Dakota's at-large district
January 3, 1987 - January 3, 1997
Timothy Peter Johnson
December 28, 1946
Canton, South Dakota, U.S.
|Children||3 (including Brendan)|
|Alma mater||University of South Dakota (BA, MA, JD)|
Timothy Peter Johnson (born December 28, 1946) is a retired American politician who served as 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.
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 Vermillion to attend the University of South Dakota School of Law and earned his J.D. in 1975. Immediately after earning his juris doctor, he went into private practice. He did not take the bar exam as he was admitted to the South Dakota bar under the state's diploma privilege.
Johnson served in the South Dakota House of Representatives from 1979 to 1982 and in the South Dakota Senate from 1983-86. Johnson served as Clay County deputy state's attorney in 1985 during his tenure in the South Dakota Senate. He 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 1991-94, 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.
During his tenure in Congress, Johnson supported 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. 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 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. 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 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).
In 2013, the National Farmers Union presented Johnson with its Friend of the Family Farmer award, an 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.
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 in Iraq, having already served in other conflicts in Bosnia and Kosovo. Brooks Johnson later also served in the conflict in Afghanistan.
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. He was 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 assisted 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.
As Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Johnson pressed for confirmation and ultimately brought President Obama's nominee for CFPB chairman, Richard Cordray, to a committee vote despite Republican opposition.
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.
Johnson supported 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.
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 regain strength and mobility and restore his severely affected speech. In his 2007 State of the Union Address, President George W. Bush sent Johnson his best wishes.
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 that year 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 reelection. Johnson's reelection 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 subsequently ran for reelection in 2004 and lost to Thune. In his 2002 election, Johnson won 94 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 for his campaign. Early polls showed Johnson likely to beat the Republican challenger, Joel Dykstra, which he did, with 62.5% of the vote. In January 2008, Johnson endorsed Barack Obama for president in the Democratic primary.
|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%|
|1992||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.
|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%|
Tim and Barbara Johnson have three children and six grandchildren. They live in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Broaden use of death penalty. (Jan 1996)
He underwent prostate cancer treatment in 2004, and subsequent tests have shown him to be clear of the disease.
Johnson, 59, was in critical condition Thursday morning after surgery...
|U.S. 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
| U.S. Senator (Class 2) from South Dakota
Served alongside: Tom Daschle, John Thune
| Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee