Former U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas died Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023.
Johnson, 88, worked as a nurse before serving nearly 30 years in Texas' 30th Congressional District, from 1993 to 2023. She was born in Waco and experienced the transformation of a segregated South in her childhood into a South that would later honor her; Dallas’ once-segregated Union Station was renamed in her honor in 2019.
Johnson earned a nursing certificate from St. Mary’s College at the University of Notre Dame in 1955 and later earned a bachelor’s degree from Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas, and an MPA from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. She was a member of the Texas state house of representatives from 1972 to 1977, and she served as an administrator in the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, between 1977 and 1981.
President Joe Biden praised Johnson in a statement following her death.
“Eddie Bernice Johnson was a dedicated nurse, state legislator, and longtime U.S. congresswoman with immense courage and a commitment to the promise of America,” Biden stated in part. “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.”
Biden noted that the former congresswoman fought to expand civil rights, to create jobs, to combat the climate crisis. He stated, “her leadership was crucial in passing our Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and CHIPS and Science Act in 2022, creating tens of thousands of good-paying jobs and making sure America leads the industries of the future.”
Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi described Johnson as “a powerful force in the United States Congress, always focused on the future.”
“As Chair of the Science, Space and Technology Committee, she insisted on investing in STEM education — with an emphasis on equity and inclusion — so that American minds shape the economy of tomorrow and solve the great challenges of our time,” Pelosi said in a statement. “How fitting that Chairwoman Johnson’s legendary legacy, cemented with the CHIPS and Science Act that she helped craft, will transform America for decades to come. The impact of Eddie Bernice Johnson’s masterful, patriotic leadership will be felt for generations.”
Fellow Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee lamented Johnson's passing in a social media post on X, formerly Twitter.
“She was a great teacher and mentor to other members, a chair of the Congressional Black Caucus;[s.i.c.] standing up for civil rights and women’s rights. But clearly, she was most proud of her role as a parent, mother, and grandmother— and beloved relative of her loving family.”