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John Mondy Shimkus (/ˈʃɪmkəs/, born February 21, 1958) is an American politician currently serving as the U.S. Representative for Illinois's 15th congressional district. He has served in the House since 1997, and is a member of the Republican Party. On August 30, 2019, Shimkus announced that he will not seek re-election for his seat in 2020.[1]

John Shimkus
John Shimkus official photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 15th district
Assumed office
January 3, 1997
Preceded byDick Durbin
Constituency20th district (1997-2003)
19th district (2003–2013)
15th district (2013–present)
Personal details
John Mondy Shimkus

(1958-02-21) February 21, 1958 (age 61)
Collinsville, Illinois, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Karen Muth
EducationUnited States Military Academy (BS)
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (MBA)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1980–1986 (Active)
1986–2008 (Reserve)
RankUS-O5 insignia.svg Lieutenant Colonel
UnitUnited States Army Reserve

Early life, education, and careerEdit

Shimkus is a lifelong resident of Collinsville, part of the Metro East portion of the St. Louis metropolitan area. He is the son of Kathleen N. (née Mondy) and Gene L. Shimkus. His paternal grandfather was of Lithuanian descent.[2] Shimkus earned his bachelor's degree at the United States Military Academy. After serving his five-year United States Army commitment, he entered the United States Army Reserve, retiring in 2008 as a lieutenant colonel. While in the U.S. Army, Shimkus earned the Expert Infantry Badge, Ranger Tab, and Parachutist Badge. He served overseas with the 54th Infantry Regiment in West Germany.[3]

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—the first Republican elected to a countywide post in 10 years. In 1994, Shimkus became the first Republican to be re-elected as county treasurer in 60 years.

U.S. House of RepresentativesEdit

Political positionsEdit

Domestic issuesEdit

Climate changeEdit

Congressman John Shimkus speaks at Southern Illinois Levee Summit regarding the importance of flood risk management and regional levee concerns with Congressman Jerry Costello and Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis District official

On March 25, 2009, in introductory remarks made to Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, during a United States House Energy Subcommittee on Energy and Environment hearing, he made the following statement regarding the role of carbon dioxide in global warming:

It's plant food ... So if we decrease the use of carbon dioxide, are we not taking away plant food from the atmosphere? ... So all our good intentions could be for naught. In fact, we could be doing just the opposite of what the people who want to save the world are saying.[10]

Shimkus has quoted the Bible to allay concerns of global warming induced rise in sea levels, stating that God had promised mankind through Noah that the earth would never again be destroyed by a flood.[11] He acknowledged that climate change is real, but questioned the benefit of spending taxpayer money on something that cannot be changed versus the changes that have been occurring forever. Specifically, Shimkus said, "Now, do I believe in climate change? In my trip to Greenland, the answer is yes. The climate is changing. The question is more about the costs and benefits and trying to spend taxpayer dollars on something that you cannot stop versus the changes that have been occurring forever. That's the real debate."[12]

Food safetyEdit

Shimkus has been a proponent of legislation to increase the ability of the Food and Drug Administration to institute recalls of tainted foods. He has served as one of the chief Republican negotiators on the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which was passed by Congress and signed by the president. Of the bill, he said: "When you're talking about the health and safety of folks, if the FDA has enough evidence to make a declaration of recall, I think that most Americans would support the government having that authority."[13]

Keystone pipelineEdit

In May 2013, Shimkus stated he would renew his support for the Keystone pipeline. The project would be an oil pipeline, bringing Canadian crude oil through the Midwest, including Illinois. As a supporter, he stated that he would rather see Canada as an energy partner than ship in oil from overseas.[14]

National securityEdit

Shimkus spoke positively of President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to temporarily curtail immigration from specified countries until better screening methods are devised. He stated that "This temporary halt will give Congress and the new Administration time to evaluate and improve the vetting process, and in the meantime gives Secretary Kelly authority to grant exceptions to the restrictions as needed. One of those exceptions must be to green card holders, who have already undergone extensive screening."[15] In October 2019, he criticized Trump for withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria, and resigned as a co-chair for Trump's 2020 campaign in Illinois.[16]

Social issuesEdit

2006 Mark Foley scandalEdit

Earlier official photo of Shimkus

Shimkus said "that in late-2005 he learned—through information passed along by Alexander's office—about an e-mail exchange in which Foley asked about the youngster's well-being after Hurricane Katrina and requested a photograph."[17]


Shimkus has a "D" rating from NORML for his voting history regarding cannabis-related causes. Shimkus opposes veterans having access to medical marijuana if recommended by their Veterans Health Administration doctor and if it is legal for medicinal purposes in their state of residence.[18]

Political campaignsEdit

In 1992, while still serving as Madison County treasurer, he won the Republican nomination to run for the U.S. House seat in what was then the 20th District. He was 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 won a crowded six-way primary, and faced State Representative Jay C. Hoffman in a close general election, which Shimkus won by just over 1,200 votes.

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

Shimkus announced in September 2005, that he would run for reelection in 2008, despite making a pledge[20] when first elected in 1996 not to stay in office for more than 12 years.

When seeking his 11th term in 2016, Shimkus faced Illinois State Senator Kyle McCarter in the Republican primary. McCarter ran to the political right of Shimkus[21][22] and criticized his accommodation with the Obama administration as well as national Republican party leadership.[23] Shimkus won the primary with 60.4% of the vote to McCarter's 39.6%.[24][25]

FEC records show that the John S. Fund, the PAC for 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.[26][27][28] In 2006, the funds treasurer, lobbyist Mark Valente, resigned. Shimkus earlier said he was considering removing Valente, but he did not want to act too quickly because it might suggest there was something improper about their relationship.[29]

Electoral historyEdit

The 20th district was disbanded after the 2000 census due to reapportionment and Illinois' loss of a U.S. House seat, which is why Shimkus faced David D. Phelps, incumbent of the 19th district, in the 2002 election. The 19th district was disbanded after the 2010 census, so Shimkus ran in the redistricted 15th district. The district includes much of the southern portion of the state, including a portion of the Metro-East, which is the Illinois side of the St. Louis area.

Illinois's 20th congressional district: Results 1992, 1996–2000[30]
Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct
1992 Richard J. Durbin 154,869 57% John Shimkus 119,219 43%
1996 Jay C. Hoffman 119,688 50% John Shimkus 120,926 50% *
1998 Rick Verticchio 76,475 38% John Shimkus 121,103 61%
2000 Jeffrey S. Cooper 94,382 37% John Shimkus 161,393 63%
*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 1996, write-ins received 4 votes.
Illinois's 19th congressional district: Results 2002–2010[30]
Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
2002 David D. Phelps 110,517 45% John Shimkus 133,956 55%
2004 Tim Bagwell 94,303 31% John Shimkus 213,451 69%
2006 Danny L. Stover 92,861 39% John Shimkus 143,491 61%
2008 Daniel Davis 104,908 33% John Shimkus 202,373 64% Troy Dennis Green 6,654 2%
2010 Tim Bagwell 67,132 29% John Shimkus 166,166 71%
Illinois's 15th congressional district: Results 2012-2018[31][32][33]
Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct
2012 Angela Michael 94,162 31% John Shimkus 205,775 69%
2014 Eric Thorsland 55,652 25% John Shimkus 166,274 75%
2016 No candidate John Shimkus 274,554 100%
2018 Kevin Gaither 74,309 29% John Shimkus 181,294 70%

Personal lifeEdit

Shimkus has been married to the former Karen Muth since 1987. They have three children: David, Joshua, and Daniel. They are members of Holy Cross Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Collinsville.[34]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Lally, Caitlin (August 30, 2019). "KMOX EXCLUSIVE: Illinois GOP congressman John Shimkus will not run in 2020". KMOX-AM. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
  2. ^ "shimkus". Retrieved 2015-03-15.
  3. ^ "Once a Soldier ... Always a Soldier" (PDF). Legislative Agenda. Association of the United States Army. 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  4. ^ "Shimkus Leads Landmark Update of Chemical Safety Law". Congressman John Shimkus. 2016-05-24. Retrieved 2018-01-13.
  5. ^ Almukhtar, Sarah (19 December 2017). "How Each House Member Voted on the Tax Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  6. ^ "Biography". U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  7. ^ "Member List". Republican Study Committee. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Members". House Baltic Caucus. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  9. ^ "Members". Congressional NextGen 9-1-1 Caucus. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  10. ^ Doster, Adam (2009-03-27). "Shimkus: Capping C02 Emissions Will "Take Away Plant Food"". Progress Illinois. Retrieved 2009-04-16.
  11. ^ "John Shimkus cites Genesis on climate change - Darren Samuelsohn". Retrieved 2015-03-15.
  12. ^ "'The planet won't be destroyed by global warming because God promised Noah,' says politician bidding to chair U.S. energy committee". Daily Mail. London. November 10, 2010.
  13. ^ Lambrecht, Bill (2010-08-13). "Durbin-led food safety agreement winning bipartisan support". Retrieved 2010-12-13.
  14. ^ "Illinois Reps. Shimkus and Davis Renew Push For Keystone Pipeline". St. Louis-CBS Local. May 31, 2013. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  15. ^ Blake, Aaron. "Coffman, Gardner join Republicans against President Trump's travel ban; here's where the rest stand". Denver Post. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Sixteen-Year-Old Who Worked as Capitol Hill Page Concerned About E-mail Exchange with Congressman". The Blotter, ABC News. September 28, 2006. Archived from the original on October 4, 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-05.
  18. ^ "Illinois Scorecard". NORML. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  19. ^ [1] Archived January 30, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ [2] Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ Brueggemann, Brian (October 7, 2015). "McCarter kicks off campaign against Shimkus; declares himself more conservative". Belleville News-Democrat. Retrieved October 7, 2015.
  22. ^ McDermott, Kevin (February 16, 2016). "A Short Run-Down of Illinois' Primary Situation Headed Toward March 15". Retrieved February 19, 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  23. ^ Greenfield, Jeff (2015-12-31). "Shimkus among three House incumbent primaries to watch Tuesday". Retrieved 2016-04-14.
  24. ^ "Election Results – General Primary – 3/15/2016". Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  25. ^ Donaldedonald, Elizabeth (2016-03-15). "Shimkus holds off challenge from McCarter; Vandersand concedes to Davis | Belleville News-Democrat". Retrieved 2016-04-14.
  26. ^ "Committees and Candidates Supported/Opposed". Archived from the original on 2015-05-05. Retrieved 2015-03-15.
  27. ^ "Committees Who Gave To This Candidate". Archived from the original on 2015-10-19. Retrieved 2015-03-15.
  28. ^ "Committees Who Gave To This Candidate". Archived from the original on 2015-05-04. Retrieved 2015-03-15.
  29. ^ Meinert, Dori. "Lobbyist who raised funds for Shimkus resigns". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved 2006-04-21.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link), The State Journal-Register, March 9, 2006
  30. ^ a b "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Archived from the original on 2008-07-30. Retrieved 2008-01-10.
  31. ^ "2012 General Election Official Vote Totals" (PDF). Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved March 15, 2015.
  32. ^ "Illinois General Election 2014". Illinois State Board of Elections. 2014-11-04. Retrieved 2015-03-15.
  33. ^ "Illinois General Election 2016". Illinois State Board of Elections. 2016-11-08. Retrieved 2016-12-13.
  34. ^ "About John". Retrieved 2015-03-15.

External linksEdit