Biden praises ‘icon’ Eddie Bernice Johnson

Biden praises ‘icon’ Eddie Bernice Johnson

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President Biden paid tribute to former Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) following news of her death, calling her an “icon and mentor” with a legacy of “resilience and purpose.”

Biden in a statement released Sunday night praised the late lawmaker’s tenure in Congress, saying she displayed “immense courage and a commitment to the promise of America.”

“She and I worked together throughout her 30 years in Congress, and I’ve always been grateful for her friendship and partnership,” Biden said. “Eddie Bernice turned a childhood dream to work in medicine into a lifetime of service, fighting to get millions of Americans access to healthcare, education, and opportunity.”

Johnson’s family announced her death earlier Sunday. She was 88.

Born in Texas in 1935, Johnson began her career as a psychiatric nurse, before being elected to the Texas House 1972, which made her the first Black woman from Dallas to be elected to public office. She later served in the Texas Senate until she won a seat in the U.S. House in 1992.

She retired at the end of the 117th Congress in early 2023.

Pointing to Johnson’s decades-long career in public service, Biden lauded her work fighting to “expand civil rights, to create jobs and to combat the climate crisis.”

The president also noted Johnson’s time as chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, calling her “an icon and mentor to generations of public servants, through whom her legacy of resilience and purpose will endure.”

Johnson was also the first Black lawmaker and woman to serve as chair of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

More recently, Biden said her leadership was a “crucial part” of passing the bipartisan infrastructure law and the CHIPS and Science Act in 2022, which directed funding for infrastructure, climate and advanced industries.

“[First lady Jill Biden] and I send our love to her family, including her son Kirk and her grandchildren Kirk Jr, David, and James; to her many friends; and to the people of Texas’ 30th Congressional District, who were so fortunate to have her as their champion for so long,” Biden said.

Several other lawmakers paid tribute to Johnson on Sunday, including Congressional Black Caucus Chair Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), who called her a “trailblazer” and pointed to her work in improving transportation for Texas residents.

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