Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 1996, 9th term.

Born: February 21, 1958, East St. Louis

Home: Collinsville

Education: West Point Military Acad., B.S. 1980, Christ Col., Teaching Cert., 1990, S. IL U., M.B.A. 1997.

Professional Career: High schl. teacher, 1986–90.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Lutheran

Family: married (Karen) , 3 children

John Shimkus, a Republican first elected in 1996, has been an aggressive supporter of business and a fierce critic of regulations he considers overly burdensome. He also is a devout Christian, who uses his official Facebook and Twitter accounts to post daily Bible passages.

Shimkus grew up in Collinsville, in Madison County. His father was an installer for Illinois Bell, and his mother a township trustee. He is of Lithuanian descent, as is his predecessor in the seat, Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin. Shimkus graduated from West Point, trained in the Army as a Ranger and paratrooper, went to college in California, then came back to Collinsville to teach high school. Almost immediately, he began running for local office. In 1988, he ran for the Madison County Board and lost. The very next year, however, he was elected a Collinsville Township trustee. In 1990, at age 32, he beat a 12-year incumbent to become Madison County treasurer. He challenged then-U.S. Rep. Durbin in 1992 and lost 57%-43%, a closer margin for Durbin than in his previous campaigns.

In 1996, when Durbin ran for the Senate, Shimkus easily won the Republican primary, with 51% against seven other candidates. In the general election, he faced state Rep. Jay Hoffman. Both were anti-abortion rights, anti-gun control, and pro-balanced budget amendment. Hoffman raised more money and had the benefit of support and financial backing from the AFL-CIO, but Shimkus won, 50.3% to 49.7%.

In the House, Shimkus’ voting record is generally conservative. He told Esquire magazine in 2010 that he believes President Barack Obama’s world view “is of government control, of government solving the inequities of society. And that means big government and higher taxes. ... It’s just not what makes this country great.” In his Facebook and Twitter postings, his favorite verse is Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

But he can show a centrist streak. After Republicans took control of the House in 2011, he voted against the GOP majority on eliminating funding for the Legal Services Corp., reducing funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, and cutting the Food and Drug Administration’s tobacco regulation budget. And he was one of just 16 House Republicans in March 2012 to back a budget plan along the lines of the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission.

From his seat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, Shimkus’ ardor can sometimes give way to hyperbole that triggers criticism on the left. When Democrats issued a draft plan to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in April 2009, he called it the “largest assault on democracy and freedom in this country that I’ve ever witnessed.” Around the same time, he drew attention for arguing that carbon dioxide—the leading greenhouse gas—is valuable “plant food” that did not need to be controlled. The floods that scientists warn could result from a rapidly changing climate won’t happen, Shimkus said, because God promised the Earth would not be destroyed by a flood.

He has been especially vocal in supporting nuclear power, extending tax credits for ethanol, and giving incentives to coal-to-liquid refineries to help coal-producing areas. In 2010, after Republicans won control of the House, he vied to become the full committee chairman, but lost out to Michigan’s Fred Upton. Shimkus was named chairman of a new subcommittee on environment and economy that enables him to closely monitor the Obama administration’s regulatory activities. He used the position to regularly go after the administration for its decision to abandon storing waste from commercial nuclear power plants at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain. In 2011 and 2012, Shimkus also amended spending bills to increase the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s work to license at the site.

As a former high school teacher, Shimkus took what seemed to be a routine assignment as chairman of the House page board. But five weeks before the 2006 election, revelations that Republican Rep. Mark Foley had sent inappropriate and sexually explicit e-mails to former male pages was a political bombshell for the party, including for Shimkus and then-GOP Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois. Both men had known of questionable contacts Foley had with pages and failed to investigate. The House Ethics Committee later found that Shimkus should have shared the information with other House members on the page board, but called for no sanctions against him.

When the state’s redistricting plan in 2001 eliminated the seat held by Rep. David Phelps, a conservative Democrat, Phelps decided to run against Shimkus in the new 19th District. After a spirited contest, in which organized labor spent more than $1.5 million trying to dislodge Shimkus, he won 55%-45%. Since then, he has been reelected easily. When he first ran for the seat, Shimkus said he would limit himself to six terms. But in September 2005, he called his pledge “a mistake,” and said, “Unless everyone plays by the same rules, term limits don’t make sense.”

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-5271

(202) 225-5880

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2217
Washington, DC 20515-1315

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-5271

(202) 225-5880

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2217
Washington, DC 20515-1315

DISTRICT OFFICE

(618) 288-7190

(618) 288-7219

15 Professional Park Drive
Maryville, IL 62062

DISTRICT OFFICE

(618) 288-7190

(618) 288-7219

15 Professional Park Drive
Maryville, IL 62062

DISTRICT OFFICE

(217) 347-7947

(217) 342-1219

101 North 4th Street Suite 303
Effingham, IL 62401

DISTRICT OFFICE

(217) 347-7947

(217) 342-1219

101 North Fourth Street Suite 303
Effingham, IL 62401

DISTRICT OFFICE

(618) 252-8271

(618) 252-8317

City Hall Room 12
Harrisburg, IL 62946-1557

DISTRICT OFFICE

(618) 252-8271

(618) 252-8317

City Hall Room 12
Harrisburg, IL 62946-1557

DISTRICT OFFICE

(217) 446-0664

(217) 446-0670

201 North Vermilion Street Suite 218
Danville, IL 61832

DISTRICT OFFICE

(217) 446-0664

(217) 446-0670

201 North Vermilion Street Suite 218
Danville, IL 61832

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(618) 344-1919

(618) 344-9519

504 Sumner Boulevard
Collinsville, IL 62234-1934

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

504 Sumner Boulevard
Collinsville, IL 62234-1934

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Chris Sarley
Policy Coordinator

Aerospace

Chase Clanahan
Legislative Correspondent

Charles Hantz
Regional Director

Agriculture

James Goldenstein
Legislative Assistant

Deb Detmers
District Director

Charles Hantz
Regional Director

Appropriations

Greta Joynes
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director

James Goldenstein
Legislative Assistant

Banking

Charles Hantz
Regional Director

Campaign

Greta Joynes
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director

Commerce

Greta Joynes
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director

Chris Sarley
Policy Coordinator

Charles Hantz
Regional Director

Communication

Jordan Haverly
Press Secretary

Charles Hantz
Regional Director

Consumers

Charles Hantz
Regional Director

Crime

James Goldenstein
Legislative Assistant

Michael Hall
District Aide

mike.hall@mail.house.gov
(217) 347-7947

Charles Hantz
Regional Director

Disability

Amy Weber
District Aide

amy.weber@mail.house.gov
(618) 288-7190

Disaster

Greta Joynes
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director

Michael Hall
District Aide

mike.hall@mail.house.gov
(217) 347-7947

Economics

Chris Sarley
Policy Coordinator

Education

James Goldenstein
Legislative Assistant

Charles Hantz
Regional Director

Energy

Chris Sarley
Policy Coordinator

Deb Detmers
District Director

Environment

Chris Sarley
Policy Coordinator

Charles Hantz
Regional Director

Finance

Greta Joynes
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director

Charles Hantz
Regional Director

Foreign

James Goldenstein
Legislative Assistant

Govt Ops

Chase Clanahan
Legislative Correspondent

Charles Hantz
Regional Director

Grants

Gun Issues

Charles Hantz
Regional Director

Health

Chris Sarley
Policy Coordinator

Amy Weber
District Aide

amy.weber@mail.house.gov
(618) 288-7190

Michael Hall
District Aide

mike.hall@mail.house.gov
(217) 347-7947

Charles Hantz
Regional Director

Homeland Security

Dora Rohan
Casework Manager

dora.rohan@mail.house.gov
(618) 288-7190

Charles Hantz
Regional Director

Housing

Chase Clanahan
Legislative Correspondent

Immigration

James Goldenstein
Legislative Assistant

Dora Rohan
Casework Manager

dora.rohan@mail.house.gov
(618) 288-7190

Insurance

Greta Joynes
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director

Michael Hall
District Aide

mike.hall@mail.house.gov
(217) 347-7947

Intelligence

Charles Hantz
Regional Director

Internet

Jordan Haverly
Press Secretary

Judiciary

James Goldenstein
Legislative Assistant

Charles Hantz
Regional Director

Labor

Greta Joynes
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director

James Goldenstein
Legislative Assistant

Michael Hall
District Aide

mike.hall@mail.house.gov
(217) 347-7947

Charles Hantz
Regional Director

Medicare

Amy Weber
District Aide

amy.weber@mail.house.gov
(618) 288-7190

Military

James Goldenstein
Legislative Assistant

Dora Rohan
Casework Manager

dora.rohan@mail.house.gov
(618) 288-7190

Science

Chris Sarley
Policy Coordinator

Chase Clanahan
Legislative Correspondent

Small Business

James Goldenstein
Legislative Assistant

Charles Hantz
Regional Director

Social Security

Greta Joynes
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director

Amy Weber
District Aide

amy.weber@mail.house.gov
(618) 288-7190

Tax

Greta Joynes
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director

Michael Hall
District Aide

mike.hall@mail.house.gov
(217) 347-7947

Technology

Chris Sarley
Policy Coordinator

Doug Bugger
Deputy Press Secretary; District Aide

Telecommunications

Greta Joynes
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director

Trade

Charles Hantz
Regional Director

Transportation

James Goldenstein
Legislative Assistant

Amy Weber
District Aide

amy.weber@mail.house.gov
(618) 288-7190

Charles Hantz
Regional Director

Veterans

James Goldenstein
Legislative Assistant

Doug Bugger
Deputy Press Secretary; District Aide

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
John Shimkus
Votes: 205,775
Percent: 68.61%
Angela Michael
Votes: 94,162
Percent: 31.39%
2012 PRIMARY
John Shimkus
Unopposed
2010 GENERAL
John Shimkus
Votes: 166,166
Percent: 71.22%
Tim Bagwell
Votes: 67,132
Percent: 28.78%
2010 PRIMARY
John Shimkus
Votes: 48,680
Percent: 85.34%
Michael Firsching
Votes: 8,363
Percent: 14.66%
2008 GENERAL
John Shimkus
Votes: 203,434
Percent: 64.46%
Daniel Davis
Votes: 105,338
Percent: 33.38%
2008 PRIMARY
John Shimkus
Votes: 60,014
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (71%), 2008 (64%), 2006 (61%), 2004 (69%), 2002 (55%), 2000 (63%), 1998 (61%), 1996 (50%)

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