A fourth-generation South Dakotan, Tim Johnson was born in 1946. He received a B.A. from the University of South Dakota and obtained a business degree from Michigan State University before returning to USD to get his law degree. After practicing law in Vermillion, South Dakota, Johnson was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1978, then to the State Senate in 1982. When Tom Daschle was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986, Johnson won Daschle's House seat, overcoming a very competitive primary challenge.
Johnson's heath problems have had an impact on South Dakota Republicans. The GOP has been reluctant to launch the usual barrage of criticisms against a person struggling to recover from a serious medical problem.
After suffering a life-threatening brain hemorrhage, he underwent emergency surgery and has recently returned to the Senate after a nine-month convalescence. Although his speech remains slow and he uses a motorized wheel chair, his mind is sharp and his opinions are as progressive as ever. He is anticipating his re-election campaign with eagerness and courage.
21st Century Democrats
21st Century Democrats is a political organization that has stood for Progressive causes for over 20 years. Founded in 1986 by Senator Tom Harkin, Texas Agriculture Secretary Jim Hightower, and Congressman Lane Evans, 21st Century Democrats has helped elect progressive politicians such as U.S. Senator Tim Johnson, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, and U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley. Its three main goals are to help elect progressive candidates, train young people about grassroots organizing, and lastly, to continue to support our elected officials after Election Day "through our comprehensive progressive network".
Supported by Council for a Livable World
The Council for a Livable World, founded in 1962 by long-time socialist activist and alleged Soviet agent, Leo Szilard, is a non-profit advocacy organization that seeks to "reduce the danger of nuclear weapons and increase national security", primarily through supporting progressive, congressional candidates who support their policies. The Council supported Tim Johnson in his successful 2008 Senate run as candidate for South Dakota. He has also been previously supported by the Council in his successful House of Representatives run as candidate for South Dakota.
The Council said of Johnson;
- Since Johnson's return to the Senate, he has called for bringing American troops home from Iraq. He voted for the Levin-Reed amendment that would have mandated the beginning of withdrawal of American forces from Iraq within 90 days and the completion of withdrawal of most troops within nine months. He also supported the Webb-Hagel amendment requiring more rest and training at home for U.S. troops before they are sent back to Iraq or Afghanistan. However, Johnson declined to vote to cut off funds while the troops are in the field. His son has served several tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan
- Over the past six years, Johnson has averaged an 83% rating on Council for a Livable World's annual voting record. He voted against the nuclear bunker buster and new low yield nuclear weapons. He has supported efforts to trim spending on missile defense while increasing funding for nuclear non-proliferation programs. He co-sponsored with Sen. Barack Obama an amendment to restore funding to the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. He opposed John Bolton's nomination to be U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and was one of only 12 Senators to oppose the U.S.-India nuclear agreement that has severely undermined global non-proliferation efforts.