Ring Ring... It's Your Congressman Calling!

Imagine answering the phone and hearing your representative's voice on the other line.

That's the reality for constituents of Congressman Timothy Johnson (R), who represents Illinois' 15th district.

Johnson tells Fox News that the most common reaction is shock. He says most Americans "are not used to government reaching out to them." The congressman added that he's seeing more of a disconnect between elected officials and the people they represent.

Johnson makes calls seven days a week, stopping only on Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. He insists that he waits until the afternoon to call, so he doesn't disturb a constituent's morning.

So what are these Americans telling him?

Johnson says "They are concerned about the size of government, concerned about government spending."

For that reason, the congressman decided to introduce legislation requiring greater disclosure of taxpayer-funded congressional travel, or CODELs. He introduced H.R. 5957, the Congressional Foreign Travel Reform Act, in late July.

Rep Johnson is also the author of H.R. 4447, the Suspending Travel After Years of Pleasure-trips on Unwitting Taxpayers, also known as the "STAY PUT" Act of 2010, which would place a six-month moratorium on CODELs.

Introducing such legislation was a rare move for the congressman, who once told the Los Angeles Times, "frankly, oftentimes members of Congress speak too much."

That attitude caught the attention of Johnson's Democratic opponent, David Gill.

Gill, who will challenge Johnson for his seat in the November election, said "There is a tremendous workload involved in being a responsible U.S. representative, and I would like to see Mr. Johnson approach some of the other work his job entails with the same zeal with which he approaches these cold calls."

Johnson defends his constituent calls, saying, "trying to reach out to them in a very individual way I think is probably the greatest thing we can do and the greatest service we provide."