Longtime Texas Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson has announced her intentions to retire after her term ends next year.
The 85-year-old Dallas Democrat, who represents Texas’ 30th congressional district, told a crowd of supporters over the weekend that she will be endorsing a candidate in the race to fill her seat.
“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 the event. “I will retire, and let me assure you that I will also recommend to you whom I feel is the best to follow me.”
Johnson was first elected to Congress in 1992, and is among the most senior members in the House. She’s the longest-serving member from Texas and serves as the dean of the state’s delegation.
Johnson has been a political trailblazer. She was the first registered nurse elected to Congress and the first Black woman from Dallas to hold public office.
Johnson currently chairs the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology and is the first woman and African American to hold that position.
“I’m proud of what I’ve done,” Johnson said, “because there’s no Texan in the history of this state who has brought more home.”
Johnson told constituents in 2019 that her current term would be her last. However, since winning reelection last year, she had declined to confirm that.
“Chairwoman Johnson is a beloved daughter of Texas, whose leadership has strengthened the health, financial security and well-being of families across Texas’s 30th District,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement after Johnson’s announcement. “On behalf of her many friends in Congress, we thank the Chairwoman for her leadership for the people of Texas and all Americans, and wish her and her family, including her beloved son Kirk and grandchildren Kirk Jr, David and James, the best in their next steps.”
Johnson’s retirement is the latest in a slew of them. Right now, 17 Democrats have announced their retirements versus 11 Republicans. Some of these members are seeking other offices. Coincidently, there were also 28 retirements announced by this time in the 2020 election cycle as well. Only the numbers in the parties were flipped with 20 Republicans and 8 Democrats retiring.