Congressman ready to put down the phone

Rep. Timothy Johnson (R-Ill.) has built up quite the reputation for being a constituent-calling machine. He’s made thousands of calls (about 4,000 annually) to voters in his district in his 12 years serving in the House.

But the congressman says once his term is up, he’s finally hanging up the phone.

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The New York Times writes that Johnson, facing a redrawn district and the potential for thousands upon thousands of new voters to call come November, was too much for Johnson. Earlier this month, he announced that he plans to retire this year.

Calling himself “almost like a dinosaur,” Johnson told the Times (in a phone interview) of his famed, albeit rather unusual, phone tendencies, “I think people think I am unique. My style makes you sufficiently out of the mainstream, and people can wonder how effective you are.”

But the chatty politician admits his endless conversations can sometimes be a burden. “The truth is, it’s missed baseball games, missed weddings and a couple specific situations that arose very recently with my family.”

But Johnson’s press secretary, Phil Bloomer, is skeptical the lawmaker will ever ditch the phone calls completely, telling ITK, “I imagine after his term is over he’ll continue to call. It’s the way he’s wired.”

At least his phone bills will likely be a lot cheaper.