Rep. Tim Johnson (R-IL) will officially retire from Congress on Jan. 3, 2013. His first term in the former 15th Congressional District began in January of 2001. (WJBC Archive Photo)
By Beth Whisman
BLOOMINGTON - Rep. Tim Johnson (R-IL) tells WJBC he believes his colleagues in Washington, D.C. will come up with a solution this year to avoid going over the fiscal cliff.
However, the Republican who will retire in January is doubtful that the new Congress will improve on finding ways to compromise in a bipartisan fashion., even if it means avoiding another recession.
"I don't envy a new member of Congress," said Johnson on Monday during a visit to Bloomington. "They still face the same degree of partisanship, and they try to do it in a civil way. But civility is not in style right now in Washington, D.C. -- nor in Springfield."
"I think it's very, very sad, and I think the net result is the punish the American people," he added.
As for his pending retirement from Washington, Johnson said he won't sit idle very long.
"I'm looking at teaching in higher education, and I think that there's a very high probability that I'll be teaching at Illinois State University next year," he predicted.
Johnson said he hoped to teach political science at ISU. He is also considering opportunities to join the political conversation on WJBC as a local pundit. However, he said he doubts he'll regret his decision to retire from Congress and its gridlock.
"I"ll miss the chance to get around in 22 counties to meet good people," he explained. "I'll miss the opportunity to represent people one on one, but I won't miss airplane flights that are canceled. I won't miss the missed birthdays and football games."
Republican Rodney Davis will take over Johnson's territory in the newly drawn 13th Congressional District in January. He was chosen to replace Johnson on the ballot after Johnson announced his intentions to retire due to family reasons. Johnson had won the GOP primary in the spring.
Congressman-elect Davis narrowly defeated Democat Dr.David Gill of Bloomington in November.
Beth Whisman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.