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Former Congressman Shimkus Joins Lobbying Firm

Former Illinois Congressman John Shimkus, during an appearance at the WILL studios in 2019.

URBANA – Former Illinois Congressman John Shimkus has signed on with a lobbying firm.

Kit Bond Strategies, which has been newly renamed the KBS Group, announced Monday that the 63-year-old Shimkus has joined them as a principal. The firm was founded in 2011 by former Missouri governor and senator, Kit Bond.

“Shaping public policy is my passion,” said Shimkus in a KBS news release. “As a member of the House for 24 years, I look forward to helping our clients understand and navigate the process in our nation’s capital.”

KBS chairman (and former Missouri congressman) Kenny Hulshof, said in a news release that he was “thrilled” to be working with Shimkus again. Both are Republicans who were first elected to the U.S. House in 1996.

“John’s decades of experience in successfully navigating Washington and his wealth of knowledge on diverse issues, from energy to defense, will be highly valuable to our clients,” said Hulshof, according to the news release.

The KBS Group’s clients include the energy company Ameren and the defense company EWR Radar Systems.

Shimkus’ energy expertise dates back to his work on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and his position as the ranking Republican on the Subcommittee on Environment and Economy.

In addition, Shimkus is a former Army lieutenant colonel, who served on active duty from 1980 to 1986, and then was as a reservist until 2008. The latter period overlapped with Shimkus’ first decade in Congress.

Shimkus is one of several politicians who have turned to lobbying after leaving Congress as the start of this year, according to Politico. Others include former Energy and Commerce Committee member Greg Walden (R-OR), former House Agriculture Chair Mike Conaway (R-TX), former Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) and former Senate Ag Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS).

During his time as a U.S. House member, Shimkus represented Illinois’ 20th House District in the 1990s, the 19th District in the early 2000’s, and the 15th District during his final eight years in office.

Shimkus left Congress six months ago, and will have to wait another six months before he can directly lobby members of Congress, under federal ethics rules.

Illinois’ 15th District, to be redrawn for the 2022 election with new census data, covers all of 30 counties and parts of four others in downstate Illinois. In the east-central part of the state, its territory includes Rantoul, Danville, Tuscola and Charleston. The district is now represented by freshman GOP Representative Mary Miller.


Jim Meadows

Jim Meadows

Jim Meadows has been covering local news for WILL Radio since 2000, with occasional periods as local host for Morning Edition and All Things Considered and a stint hosting WILL's old Focus talk show. He was previously a reporter at public radio station WCBU in Peoria.

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