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Eddie Bernice Johnson Retiring from Congress

November 22, 2021 by Dan McCue
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, makes comments as she introduces State Senator Royce West at a rally where West announced his bid to run for the US Senate in Dallas, Monday, July 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

WASHINGTON — Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, is retiring from Congress after nearly three decades in office, bringing to 16 the number of Democrats who are bowing out before the 2022 election.

Johnson, a trailblazer her whole life, was the first Black woman elected to public office from Dallas, Texas, and the first Black person from Dallas to serve in the Texas state Senate since reconstruction.

She was also the first registered nurse ever elected to Congress, and the first Black woman to chair the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.

Over the years, Johnson also proved adept at working with her Republican colleagues from Texas to get funding for major road projects like the Dallas/Fort Worth Connector and expansions at Dallas Love Field.

In a written statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Johnson has been “a dedicated and highly effective leader on behalf of Dallas area families and the entire nation.”

“She has used her gavel as the powerful chair of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee to advance great progress for America, and her leadership and friendship will be missed by many in the Congress,” Pelosi said.

“Chairwoman Johnson has made progress, as a lawmaker with a track record of success for America’s children and future, including to promote STEM education, ensure diversity and inclusion in science and combat the climate crisis with a firm focus on innovation,” she continued, adding, “As a senior member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, she was vital to the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, now signed into law by President Biden.”

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said “the people of Dallas and its surrounding communities have been so fortunate to have her as their representative and to have been able to count on her to be their champion in Washington. She will be greatly missed after she steps down at the end of this Congress. 

“As chairwoman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Rep. Johnson has been at the forefront of efforts to make America more competitive and ensure that we continue to lead the world in the twenty-first century,” Hoyer said. “She’s worked hard to promote STEM education and prepare today’s students to become tomorrow’s innovators and technology entrepreneurs. I’ve been proud to partner with her in developing and promoting key parts of House Democrats’ Make It In America plan, and I have worked closely with her to support NASA in my district and across the country. 

“Rep. Johnson has been instrumental in our caucus to advance policies that help low-income families access opportunities to get ahead, including the Build Back Better Act, and the House could not have enacted the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act this month without her leadership,” he said.

Already a number of names are being floated as possible replacements for Johnson in the 30th Congressional District, a safe Democratic seat.

These include state Sen. Royce West; state Reps. Yvonne Davis, Jasmine Crockett and Toni Rose; attorney Abel Mulugheta; Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price; small-business owner Shenita Cleveland; and progressive Democrat Jessica Mason.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue.

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