By Sandy Geffre

Black Hills Pioneer

LEAD — Retired 8th Circuit Court Judge Timothy R. Johns has announced his candidacy in the South Dakota House of Representatives District 31 race.

Johns, a Republican, is a longtime Lawrence County resident and said he would both welcome and be honored to represent its people in Pierre.

He circulated a nominating petition after being approached by several people to run for the seat that will be open at the end of the 2012 legislative session. The seat is currently held by Rep. Chuck Turbiville, R-Deadwood, who is serving the last year of his fourth two-year term and will be termed out.

"My political philosophy is that we should have no more government than what we need," said Johns.

If elected, Johns has set three priorities on which to focus. His first priority would be to maintain a strong and fiscally sound budget for the operation of state government, he said.

"I would also promote the interests of the people of Lawrence County and would work to ensure that we do not overlook our obligations to prepare our children and young people to some day lead our state and nation," Johns said.

Johns grew up in Aberdeen and graduated from Northern State University with an undergraduate degree. He earned a law degree from the University of South Dakota School  of Law at Vermillion in 1974.

He moved to Belle Fourche, where he practiced law and served as Butte County Deputy State's Attorney for a short time. While in Belle Fourche, Johns also represented the city of Nisland.

After moving to Lead, Johns was appointed as an 8th Circuit Court Law Train Magistrate in 1975 and served in that role for 14 years before he was appointed as a Circuit Court Judge. Johns retired at the end of 2005 after serving 30 years on the bench. Johns believes his varied background and long history of public service has prepared him for the legislature.

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