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After Long Recovery, Johnson Makes 2007 Debut Wednesday

His speech will be noticeably slower and he'll be zipping around in a motorized wheel chair, but Tim Johnson will do something on Wednesday that did not seem possible last December _ he'll give an address on the Senate floor.

Johnson (D-SD), who has spent nine months in intensive physical and speech therapy after a debilitating brain hemorrhage, is planning to attend the weekly Democratic caucus luncheon, after which he plans to give a brief speech on the Senate floor. He also plans to vote for the first time in 2007, most likely on an amendment to the military construction appropriations bill pending on the Senate floor.

Johnson's office has laid out a detailed schedule for the senator's schedule, and his first official day includes modest activities such as a photo op, a meeting with his chief of staff and votes on the Senate floor. Fellow South Dakotans, including Republican Sen. John Thune and Democratic Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin will ceremonially hold the door open for Johnson as he arrives at his office Wednesday morning.

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