U.S. Rep. Timothy V. Johnson released the following statement this afternoon:
"The American people are best served when members of Congress put aside our partisan differences and engage in open and honest dialogue with one another to address the pressing challenges facing our country. It is for this reason I plan to sit with my colleague and friend, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., at tonight's Joint Session of Congress at which President Barack Obama will unveil his plan for economic recovery.
"While my colleague and I may not always agree on the best course of action needed to solve our nation's problems, we both share in the same interest of serving our constituents to the best of our abilities. In order to do this, we must put an end to the hateful rhetoric found so frequently in Washington, DC.
Rep. Jackson agreed.
"I have great respect for my colleague Rep. Timothy Johnson and I am grateful that he came up with this idea and made this overture," Rep. Jackson said. "Like he said, Democrats and Republicans often don't see things the same way, but we can be civil toward each other. We can disagree without becoming disagreeable. This is a small step, but as they say, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
Rep. Johnson added, "There is no better way to show the American people that we are committed to achieving partisanship and civility than by breaking the invisible barrier that has traditionally separated members of the two parties. As co-founder of the Center Aisle Caucus I have encouraged my colleagues to reach out across the aisle in a showing of mutual respect and civility.
"Tonight the President will send his message to the American people. My message to my constituents is that Washington is not broken, that we can and will get along, and, even though we may not agree philosophically, we can have a civil discourse to best resolve the employment crisis."