Last Thursday H.Res. 1079, congratulating the New Orleans Saints on their recent Super Bowl victory, passed the U.S. House of Representatives with overwhelming bipartisan support by a vote of 375-1. The only Congressman to vote against congratulating the Saints for winning their first Super Bowl was five-term incumbent Tim Johnson (R, IL-15), described by his spokesperson as a "huge [Indianapolis] Colts fan." All seven Indiana House members who voted cast "yes" votes for the resolution, and some even voiced support on the House floor. The Saints team roster and coaching staff include several graduates of universities located in Illinois' 15th Congressional District.
Johnson's opponent in this November's election, Dr. David Gill of Bloomington, responded to Johnson's "nay" vote:
"This championship had a symbolic and uplifting effect on Louisiana and the entire Gulf region. Mr. Johnson's single opposing vote mars what could have been a unanimous expression of congratulations, recognition, and encouragement to an area still recovering from devastation almost five years after Hurricane Katrina.
There certainly are issues of far greater importance for our Congress to address these days than the Super Bowl, and there are many legitimate differing points of view on health care reform, economic recovery, and energy sustainability. However, Mr. Johnson's negative vote on this simple congratulatory resolution demonstrates just how out of touch he is with the voters of the 15th District.
In my travels across our district's 22 counties, I've yet to meet any citizen of IL-15 who exhibits such poor sportsmanship. At the end of games and debates around here, we citizens of IL-15 shake hands and congratulate the victor. Mr. Johnson's negative vote projects a false image of the district's residents and sends a message of poor sportsmanship to our children and adolescents."