Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson a Trailblazer in Politics
U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Dallas, was overwhelmingly reelected last week to the 30th Congressional District seat she's held for 24 years.
Johnson is a trailblazer, often the first woman or African-American in many roles throughout her 40-plus years career. This is her 13th term in the U.S. House of Representatives, and she's said it will be her last. She is now 80 years old.
When asked what the headlines will read once she steps down, Johnson said this:
"I have no clue! I would like to continue to hear what I hear everywhere I go – 'I appreciate what you're doing for us.' Sometimes I wonder what each of them sees because it depends on perspective."
She said she wants to groom a successor.
"Clearly, I would love to see a young, bright, person – hopefully female – to replace me," Johnson said.
Johnson was once a psychiatric nurse before winning her first election to the Texas House of Representatives in 1972.
"African-American women had not been involved that much in electoral politics. As a matter of fact, I learned several years later from one of the researchers at the University of Texas that I was the first African-American woman to run for and win any office in Dallas. I didn't even realize that!" Johnson said.
The 100-year-old Dallas Union Station was recently renamed The Eddie Bernice Johnson Union Station. Johnson wonders whether others are inspired by her story.
"I guess when you get to my age, you're concerned about whether or not your legacy will be encouraging to young people coming along behind you," she said.
Johnson said she has gotten satisfaction from helping Dallas grow into what she calls a beacon for the nation.