Texas Democrat Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson announces retirement

Texas Democrat Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson announces retirement

Isabel Webb Carey
Isabel Webb Carey
|
November 22, 2021

U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson announced her retirement Saturday after serving almost 3 decades in Congress after her initial election in 1992. 

Johnson, 85, is the longest serving member from Texas, serves as the dean of the Texas delegation, and chairs the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. In 2019, Johnson had indicated in 2019 that the present term would be her last. 

“I have gone back and forth … the whole time because of the pleading and the asking, but as of January … the year after next, I will step down,” Johnson said during an event in Dallas where she was surrounded by close family. “I will retire, and let me assure that I will also recommend to you whom I feel is the best to follow me.”

In her address, Johnson mentioned that she is looking for a “female that is qualified,” and went on to emphasize her longtime advocacy for funding for Dallas Area Rapid Transit, the city’s public transit agency, calling it “my baby from the first day that I got there.” She also highlighted her role in helping flip Dallas County for Democrats in 2006.

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Over the course of her political career, Johnson has marked many firsts. She was the first Black woman elected to public office in Dallas when she won state House seat in 1972, the first Black person to represent the city in the Texas state Senate since Reconstruction, the first registered nurse voted into Congress, and the first Black woman to chair the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.

“I’m proud of what I’ve done because there is no Texan in the history of this state who has brought more home,” Johnson said, reflecting on how she had to work across party lines during long stretches in the minority. “As much as we trash the names of some of the Republicans. they were some of the same ones that helped me be successful.”

Last month, Abel Mulugheta, the former chief of staff to state Rep. Rafael Anchia, announced an outright campaign for the seat. Jessica Mason, a Navy veteran and progressive activist, is also running for the Democratic nomination. Additionally, former top staffer for Joe Biden’s campaign in Texas Jane Hope Hamilton and state Rep. Jasmine Crockett have also hinted at possible runs.

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Isabel Webb Carey

Isabel Webb Carey

Isabel Webb Carey attends the University of Texas at Austin in the Plan II Honors Program with a certificate in Core Texts and Ideas. Her interests include education, local governance, sustainability, and equity. Isabel enjoys dancing, hiking, and live music. She is also a staff writer for the Texas Orator. Email her at [email protected]
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