Ex-Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson dies at 88

Ex-Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson dies at 88

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Former Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), who served in the House for three decades, has died at the age of 88, her family announced 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,” Kirk Johnson, her son, 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.

Johnson was born in Waco, Texas, on Dec. 3, 1935. She later became a nurse before being voted into the Texas House in 1972, when she became the first Black woman from Dallas to be elected to public office. She was later elected to the Texas Senate in 1987 and served there until she decided to run for the U.S. House in 1992, where she won her race by a landslide.

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

Tributes for the trailblazing lawmaker began to pour out on social media on Sunday. 

“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-Nev.) said in a statement.

Horsford’s statement also detailed her accomplishments during her time in public service, including working to improve transportation for Texas residents.

“Congresswoman Johnson was instrumental in delivering hundreds of millions of dollars towards revitalizing transportation in Texas — most notably for the Southern Gateway Project and the DART Rail System, for which Dallas’ DART and Amtrak rail center was renamed the Eddie Bernice Johnson Union Station in her honor,” Horsford said.

Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas), who was endorsed by Johnson in 2022, said that the late lawmaker was a “quiet storm” in a statement.

“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,” Crockett said.

Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) also offered his condolences to Johnson’s family and friends. 

“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,” Clyburn said.

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