Retired Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson dies at 88

 January 1, 2024

Former Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (R-TX), who retired in 2022, died at age 88, her family announced on Sunday

“I am heartbroken to share the news that my mother, Eddie Bernice Johnson, has passed away. She was a remarkable and loving mother, mother-in-law, grandmother and great grandmother, as well as a trailblazer and public servant,” her son Kirk Johnson wrote in a Facebook post.

“While we mourn the loss of an extraordinary woman, we celebrate her life and legacy. She will be deeply missed,” he added. Her cause of death was not revealed.

Johnson became the first black woman to serve from Dallas when she was elected to the Texas House in 1972. She was also a nurse before she was elected.

Tributes pour in

She entered the U.S. House in 1992 after winning the seat in a landslide and served 30 years.

She was chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and as well as the first Black lawmaker and woman to serve as chair of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology during her tenure.

Many of her colleagues posted tributes to her in statements to the press and on social media.

“A former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, the first registered nurse elected to Congress, the first Black woman elected to Congress from Dallas, and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, Congresswoman Johnson was a trailblazer who served her constituents and her country honorably in the U.S. Congress for 30 years,” Congressional Black Caucus Chair Steven Horsford (D-NV) said in a statement.

Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-TX), who was endorsed by Johnson and took her vacant seat, said, “The Chairwoman didn’t take passing the torch on lightly, and likewise, I’ve not taken it lightly that she entrusted me to honor her work and legacy. Every day that passes is a day that I dedicate to continuing her work and attempting to fill her shoes. The work has never been easy, but it has and always will be noble."

“Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson and I joined Congress the same year, but our friendship began two decades earlier. She was a treasured colleague, trusted confident, and most importantly, a dear friend,” Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) said.

Johnson brought home the bacon

President Joe Biden praised her "immense courage" and called her "an icon and mentor to generations of public servants, through whom her legacy of resilience and purpose will endure."

Johnson is credited with helping to bring hundreds of millions of dollars to the Dallas area during her time in the House, NPR reported.

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson, who recently switched from the Democrat to the Republican Party, said, "She was the single most effective legislator Dallas has ever had. Nobody brought more federal infrastructure money home to our city. Nobody fought harder for our communities and our residents' interests and safety. And nobody knew how to navigate Washington better for the people of Dallas."

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), also praised Johnson's years of service. "For three decades, Chairwoman Johnson was a powerful force in the United States Congress, always focused on the future," Pelosi said in a statement, adding that she was "a tenacious trailblazer, a talented legislator and a devoted public servant."

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