John M. Shimkus (R-IL-15)i

John M. Shimkus Congressman Illinois District 19

John M. Shimkus is the incumbent in the 2002 -2010 Illinois District 19 and running for relection in the 2012 – 2020 Illinois District 15.

House links: John Shimkus (R-IL-19)i

Campaign links: John Shimkus (R-IL-15)i

John M. Shimkus Biography from


Biography of John M. Shimkus

John M. Shimkus is serving his 8th term in Congress and represents the 19th District of Illinois, one of the largest geographic districts east of the Mississippi River, stretching from the metro-east region of St. Louis to the state capital in Springfield and down to Metropolis along the Ohio River.

John has served in the Army, as a high school teacher, a county treasurer, and now as a representative in the United States House.

Among his duties in Congress, John serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  He is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy.  In addition, he serves on the Subcommittees on Energy and Power; Health; and Communications and Technology.

John is a U.S. delegate to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.  His Lithuanian heritage also allows him to focus on Eastern European issues and highlight the plight of people seeking democracy.


Over the years, John has successfully ushered bills through Congress relevant to his district and our nation that were eventually signed into law by Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

  • 1998: a law changing our nation’s alternative fuel policy from one of vehicle purchases to actual alternative fuel usage.  This legislation has made biodiesel accepted and accessible at fuel pumps.
  • 1999: a law designating 9-1-1 as the universal emergency number, including cellular phones.
  • 2002: a law increasing federal oversight of automobile tires.
  • 2002: a law establishing the Internet domain that provides a safe place on the web for young children to surf and learn without potential predators looming online.
  • 2003: a law providing for the placement of heart defibrillators in schools.
  • 2004: a law expanding federal grants for the deployment of equipment able to locate 9-1-1 callers from wireless devices.
  • 2005: John’s tireless efforts in supporting biodiesel and ethanol were instrumental in the inclusion of the renewable fuel standard in the Energy and Policy Act of 2005.


John married Karen Muth in 1987.  They have three sons:  David, 18, Joshua, 16, and Daniel, 11.  The family maintains their residence in John’s hometown of Collinsville, Illinois.  The Shimkus family is active members of Holy Cross Lutheran Church and School in Collinsville.

Education and Work History

John received his Bachelor of Science degree in general engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1980.  He served over five years active duty in the Army, then entered the Army Reserves.  John retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel on June 1, 2008, closing out 28 years of military service.  He continues his connection to West Point by being an appointed Congressional member of the Academy’s Board of Visitors.

After leaving active duty John earned his teaching certificate from Christ College Irvine, California (now Concordia University Irvine).  He returned home to teach at Metro East Lutheran High School in Edwardsville, Illinois.

In 1989 John won his first election, becoming a Collinsville Township trustee.  He quit his teaching job the following year to campaign full-time and was elected Madison County (Illinois) treasurer.  John began studies for his master’s degree in business administration (MBA) while county treasurer and graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 1997.

In 1996 John won his first term as a United States Representative from what was Illinois’ 20th District.  Following redistricting in 2002, he has represented the 19th District.

John has been conferred with honorary doctor of laws degrees from Concordia University Irvine (2004) and Concordia University Nebraska (2005).  In 2007 he was presented the Christus Vivit award by Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri.

Biography from Volunteers for Shimkus

John M. Shimkus of Collinsville, Illinois, is serving his sixth term in Congress representing the 19th District. He won his first election to what was then the 20th District by a narrow margin in 1996 over State Representative Jay Hoffman. In his election to the new 19th District in 2002, John defeated fellow Congressman David Phelps by ten percentage points. All of his other elections have been by margins around 20 percent.

The 19th District is large geographically, containing all or parts of 30 counties. It stretches from the state capital of Springfield at the north to Metropolis, across the Ohio River from Paducah, Kentucky, at the south and from the Congressman’s hometown of Collinsville, a St. Louis suburb, at the west to near the Indiana border at the east. The district is conservative by nature, which fits John’s voting pattern.

John served as Madison County Treasurer before being elected to Congress. Before that he was a teacher at Metro East Lutheran High School in Edwardsville, Illinois. John’s first elected position was as a Collinsville Township Trustee.

John is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. He served as an Army infantry officer nearly six years in the former West Germany and at various bases here. He is currently a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army Reserves. He has also earned his MBA from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

At his last duty station in California, he met his future wife Karen. He returned to Illinois to begin teaching. He and Karen were married in 1987 when she moved to Collinsville. John and Karen have three sons – David, Joshua, and Daniel. They reside in Collinsville. John serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and is the ranking Republican on the Subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Materials. He also serves on the Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee and the Telecommunications and the Internet Subcommittee.

John is honored to be the Senior Republican representative from the United States to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Among his colleagues John serves as co-chairman of the House Baltic Caucus and the Congressional E-911 Caucus.

In his first year in office, John was featured in a PBS documentary, “Mr. Shimkus Goes to Washington.” The program featured him traveling in the District, to and from Washington, and the affects of this hectic lifestyle on his young family.

John has had a very successful legislative career when it comes to getting legislation passed and signed into law considering his short time in Washington.

In 1998 John’s legislation changed our nation’s alternative fuel policy from one of vehicles purchased to one of actual fuel usage. This pro-biodiesel provision continues to aid farmers, protect our environment, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

In 1999 President Clinton signed into law John’s legislation designating 9-1-1 as the nation’s universal emergency phone number. And in 2000 the President signed the TREAD Act into law that increased federal oversight of automobile tire problems, which included John’s language increasing testing of child car safety seats.

John assisted in getting legislation signed into law in 2002 that would bring fairness to the Superfund program by exempting innocent small businesses from being sued.

And on December 4, 2002, John participated in two bill signings at the White House. President Bush signed into law John’s legislation establishing a dot kids dot us Internet domain safe for young children and a law that will establish safety guidelines for booster seats for children in motor vehicles.

In 2003 John was again successful in having two of his bills signed into law. One law allows a hydroelectric facility at Carlyle Lake to continue in the planning stages, and the other law allows funds to be spent on an information clearinghouse on defibrillator placement in schools.

John was instrumental in the energy bill signed by President Bush in 2005. He gets particular credit for the increase in the renewable fuel standard (RFS) to 7.5 billion gallons by 2012.  This legislation has been the primary engine to excite ethanol production in Illinois.  John has also been a staunch defender of coal.

John has received hundreds of awards over the years from a diverse group of organizations. He routinely travels the district and participates in open office hours, where constituents can meet with him one-on-one.

Do you know where you still on the political spectrum? See “Political Beliefs, Where Are You” to find out where you stand.

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