A Texas Democratic figure, who broke numerous barriers and dedicated her efforts to enhancing the well-being of millions of Americans, has passed away. Throughout her career, the legislator prioritized the advancement of healthcare accessibility and improved educational opportunities, earning recognition as a leader among her colleagues. At the time of her death, she was 88 years old.
Eddie Bernice Johnson, a prominent Democratic figure from Texas, wielded considerable influence during her tenure in office. In the 1990s, she played a key role in delineating a new congressional district in the House, ultimately securing victory in the 1992 election for that seat. This strategic move positioned her as the sole female representative from Texas in the U.S. House during that period.
After serving three terms, she transitioned to the Senate; however, in 1992, the legislator returned to the House, maintaining her position until January 2022. As the inaugural Black woman to occupy a Texas seat, she also achieved the distinction of being the first individual of color from Dallas elected to Congress.
Assuming the role of chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus from 2001 to 2003, Johnson later took on the position of chair for the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology starting in 2019. Notably, she enhanced transportation in North Texas by successfully obtaining a federal grant to expand the utilization of the region’s light rail system. This initiative enabled the operation of longer trains and increased capacity for passengers.
Due to her unwavering efforts, Ebony Magazine recognized her in 1993 and 1994 as one of the “100 Most Influential African Americans.” Her continued impact was acknowledged once more in 2001 when the publication included her among the “10 Most Powerful African American Women.”
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.— James E. Clyburn (@RepJamesClyburn) December 31, 2023
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson was a strong legislator, a good friend, and a wonderful human being. We will all miss her. https://t.co/cZwZjq2fwY— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) December 31, 2023
Texas Mayor Eric L. Johnson (R) shared the news of his fellow lawmaker’s demise on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. Expressing grief over the loss, he described the departed legislator as an iconic figure in American history. President Joe Biden also issued a statement in a press release, offering condolences, along with those of his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, to Eddie Bernice Johnson’s surviving son and three grandchildren.