Here is the text of the news release formally announcing the retirement of U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson:
URBANA, Il. – U.S. Rep. Timothy V. Johnson announced his retirement today at a news conference in the Urbana City Council Chambers of the Urbana City Building, where he began his career in public service more than 40 years ago.
His statement follows:
“I am here to announce my retirement from the United States Congress effective at the end of my current term. I will file papers asking the 14 County Chairs to fill my position on the November ballot.
“Serving in Congress while fulfilling other obligations has always been a challenge, as it is for every Member of Congress. The past year I have taken on new challenges. In January of last year, I took on additional legislative responsibilities when I became chairman of the House Agricultural Subcommittee on Rural Development, Biotechnology, Research and Foreign Agriculture. In June of last year, a new and grossly gerrymandered Congressional map was drawn that created a district where two thirds of the voters had never been represented by me. These two new obligations strained my schedule beyond what I had ever dealt with in my years of public service. However, when I filed for reelection, I was fully confident I could meet those obligations, as well as my obligations to family.
“My family obligations, however, are what compels this announcement. Exclusively. I’m almost 66 years old. My time is limited. I have been serving in office for 44 consecutive years. I’m also the father of 9 children, have 11 grandchildren and now two great-grandchildren. I have been a part-time father in all those years. That’s not good enough.
“One of my grandsons is two years old; I have seen him for a total of about 10 minutes. I have another grandson who asked me not long ago if I was ever going to come to one of his ballgames. I didn’t have an answer.
“Aside from the missed birthdays, births and weddings, there are some specific, critical family issues that require my ongoing attention. Taken together, I cannot adequately serve the 15th District, campaign in the new 13th District, be in Washington D.C. and fulfill my obligations to my family. It would be a disservice to all to attempt that. I am confident that in making this decision and preparing to return to private life, I am doing the right thing for the people most important to me, my family.
“My intention is to return in some way to the practice of law. I will continue to be involved politically where appropriate, and continue to speak out as I see fit on the issues of the day. I also hope to be involved in teaching as well. I will not be a paid lobbyist at any time in the future.
“I am confident that the Republican Party will find the right person to fill this seat. There are many people in the 13th district who would make extraordinary Congressmen or Congresswomen. The results of the primary demonstrate that people want a Republican of integrity and independence in this office. The County Chairmen and Chairwomen in the district, I’m sure, will make a choice that will well serve the people of the new 13th district. I’ve talked to two potential candidates inside my congressional office about my decision, Mark Shelden and Phil Bloomer. They have allowed me to tell you that they will not be candidates for the office. Additionally, no member of my family will be a candidate.
“Serving in public office has been a great honor as well as a tremendous responsibility. I will always treasure the thousands of friends and colleagues I have found along this journey. Most importantly, I hope that I have kept the trust of the hundreds of thousands of people I have represented over the years.
“I want to thank the many people who have supported me over the years with their votes and their volunteer time. I also want to thank the news media, which has been fair and balanced in their coverage of my service throughout my career.
“Most importantly, and finally, I want to thank the nearly one million people who have given me the privilege of serving them over the last 44 years as a precinct committeeman, member of the Urbana Human Relations Commission, member of the Urbana City Council, member of the Illinois General Assembly, and finally, U.S. Congressman.”