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Biography John Shimkus

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John Shimkus John Shimkus
John Shimkus
U.S. Representative for Illinois, serving since 1997 - member of the Republican Party.


John Shimkus Biography

ENG: John Mondy Shimkus (born February 21, 1958) is the U.S. Representative for Illinois's 15th congressional district (numbered as the 20th from 1997 to 2003 and 19th from 2003 to 2013), serving since 1997. He is a member of the Republican Party.

The district includes much of the southern portion of the state, taking in part of Springfield and a portion of the Metro-East area (the Illinois side of the St. Louis area).


Early life, education and career

Shimkus is a lifelong resident of Collinsville, a suburb of St. Louis. He is the son of Kathleen N. (née Mondy) and Gene L. Shimkus. His paternal grandfather was of Lithuanian descent. Shimkus earned his bachelor's degree at the United States Military Academy. After serving his five-year Army commitment, he entered the reserves, retiring in 2008 as a lieutenant colonel. While in the Army, Shimkus earned the Expert Infantry Badge, Ranger tab, and Parachutist Badge as well as served overseas with the 54th Infantry Regiment in West Germany.

Shimkus earned a teaching certificate from Christ College Irvine (now Concordia University Irvine) and began teaching at Metro East Lutheran High School in Edwardsville. He earned an MBA from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 1987.

Shimkus first ran for office in 1989, when he was elected a Collinsville Township trustee. A year later, he was elected as Madison County treasurer, becoming the first Republican county officeholder in 10 years. He was reelected in 1994, becoming the first Republican reelected countywide in Madison County in 50 years.


Political campaigns

In 1992, while still serving as Madison County treasurer, Shimkus won the Republican nomination in what was then the 20th District. He was soundly defeated by 10-year Democratic incumbent Dick Durbin.

Four years later, Durbin gave up the seat to make what would be a successful run for the United States Senate. Shimkus handily won a crowded six-way primary, and faced State Representative Jay C. Hoffman in the general election. Despite Durbin's presence atop the ballot, the election was one of the closest in the nation, with Shimkus prevailing by only 1,200 votes out of 240,000 cast—a margin of 0.5 percent. However, Shimkus has never faced another contest nearly that close, and has been reelected six times.

Shimkus has only faced one credible opponent since his initial reelection, in 2002. That year, Illinois lost a district as a result of the 2000 census, and Shimkus' district was merged with the 19th District of two-term Democrat David D. Phelps. The new district retained Phelps' district number, but geographically and demographically was more Shimkus' district; Shimkus retained 60 percent of his former territory. The campaign was very bitter; both men accused the other's staffers of stalking their families. Despite a Democratic wave that swept through most of the state, Shimkus was convincingly reelected, with 55 percent of the vote.

Shimkus announced in September 2005 that he would run for reelection in 2008, despite making a pledge when first elected in 1996 not to stay in office for more than 12 years. "It was a mistake at the time", he said about his 1996 campaign promises. "Unless everyone plays by the same rules, term limits don't make sense."

FEC records show that the John S. Fund, the PAC for John Shimkus, contributed to former Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay in 2005. The fund also made contributions to Peter Roskam, a Republican candidate for the House from Illinois's 6th district, from 2005 to 2008 and to David McSweeney, a Republican candidate for the House from Illinois's 8th district, in 2006. Recently the funds treasurer, lobbyist Mark Valente, resigned. Shimkus earlier said he was considering removing Valente, but he didn't want to act too quickly because it might suggest there was something improper about their relationship.


Personal life

Shimkus has been married to the former Karen Muth since 1987. They have three children. They are members of Holy Cross Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Collinsville.





February 12, 2013

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