BioSenator Tim Johnson is a fourth generation South Dakotan, and has served the people of this great state for three decades. Starting in 1978, as a state representative, after four years in the state house and four in the state senate, Tim was elected to Congress in 1986 where he served for five terms before being elected to the Senate in 1996.
After suffering a life altering medical incident in 2006, Tim Johnson is using his second chance at life to work even harder for the people of South Dakota. Since his return to the Senate in 2007 he has not missed a single vote and has sponsored and co-sponsored over 100 pieces of legislation.
Tim and Barb Johnson's roots run deep in the plains of South Dakota. A fourth-generation South Dakotan, Tim was born in Canton to Van and Ruth Johnson. Tim's grandfather on his father’s side was a farmer and ran a hardware and implement business in Centerville. His grandfather on his mother's side emigrated from Norway as a young man and became a Lutheran minister and served much of his time at the Scandia Lutheran Church in Centerville.
Tim's great-grandfather homesteaded near Centerville and farmed the land there.
His father Van was a high school teacher and football coach. He taught and coached at Centerville, Canton, Flandreau and Vermillion before going on to teach at the University of South Dakota. Ruth Johnson, Tim's mother was a homemaker, helping raise Tim, his brother Tom and sister Julie.
Tim learned early on the value of a good education and the necessity of hard work from the values and ideals his parents instilled in him.
Tim attended primary and secondary schools in Centerville, Canton, Flandreau and Vermillion. During his senior year at Vermillion High School, Tim played football and was named most valuable player. He played linebacker, was captain of the defense and scored fourteen touchdowns that year.
After high school, Tim attended the University of South Dakota (USD), graduating with Phi Beta Kappa academic honors. He went on to earn both a master's degree in political science and a law degree from USD.
During his undergraduate years, Tim met Barbara Brooks of Sioux Falls, whom he married shortly after graduating. Balancing family needs with work pressures is something Tim and Barb came to know well during their early years. After Tim completed his graduate studies at USD, he worked as a budget analyst for the Michigan State Senate Appropriations Committee while Barbara completed her master's degree in social work. It was during this time that their first child, Brooks, was born.
Tim and Barb still have their home in Vermillion, and in addition to their three adult children have 5 grandchildren. Brooks, was in the 101st Airborne division of the U.S. Army and has served in Bosnia, Kosovo, South Korea, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He currently works full time for the National Guard. In May 2004, Brooks married Naida Snipas Johnson of Massachusetts. They have a son, Arius Timothy Johnson, or Ari for short.
Kelsey, a 2004 graduate of the University of South Dakota is currently in graduate school at George Washington University and works in policy development for the American Association for Cancer Research.
Tim's interest in public policy stems back to his childhood days and dinner table discussions with his family about ways to make a difference in the community. But, it was during his first few years in private law practice that he made a firm commitment to play an active role in the legislative process that was shaping the community in which he, his family, and other South Dakotans lived.
Just three years after starting his own law practice, Tim was elected to the South Dakota House of Representatives in 1978 and then reelected in 1980.
After serving in the state House for four years, Tim ran for the state Senate and was elected in 1982 and 1984. During his years in the South Dakota Legislature, he earned a reputation as a hardworking, effective author of sound fiscal and social policy. His achievements did not go unnoticed. In 1979 the Vermillion Jaycees presented him with the "Outstanding Citizen Award." In 1983 he was the first recipient of the "Billie Sutton Award for Legislative Achievement" presented by the South Dakota Democratic Party.
After eight years in the state legislature, Tim decided to take his commitment to creating positive change for South Dakotans to Washington. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1986 with nearly 60 percent of the vote. During his first term in Congress, he was responsible for passing more legislation than any of the other 50 first-term members. And, he received national awards by the National Farmers Union, Disabled American Veterans, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Within the House Democratic leadership organization, Tim served as Regional Deputy Whip from 1991-1994. Tim served as South Dakota's congressman for five terms before being elected to the Senate in 1996 and re-elected to a second term in 2002.
Since his re-election in 2002 Tim has continued his hard work in the Senate. He worked with the entire South Dakota delegation, locked arm in arm to keep Ellsworth Air Force base open. He has used his position on the Senate Appropriations Committee to secure millions of dollars in funding for crucial South Dakota projects. From funding agricultural research at SDSU to nearly doubling the funding for the Lewis and Clark water project in 2007, time and again Tim has used his influence to deliver resources for South Dakota.
Tim serves on several important committees, including the powerful Appropriations Committee, the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and the Indian Affairs Committee.