Eddie Bernice Johnson (born December 3, 1935) is a politician from the state of Texas, currently representing the state's 30th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. She is the first registered nurse elected to the US Congress.
Early life, education, and medical career
Johnson was born in Waco, Texas. She began her college education at Saint Mary's College of Notre Dame, Indiana and transferred to Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, from which she received a bachelor's degree in nursing. She later attended Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, and earned an MPA in 1976. She worked as a nurse in a Dallas hospital and later as a psychotherapist before entering politics.
Early political career
She was elected to the Texas House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1972 and served for three terms. She was an administrator for the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare from 1977 to 1981.
She was elected to the Texas State Senate in 1986. As a state senator, she was on the redistricting committee where she was instrumental in shaping the district she represents. By design the 30th Congressional District has a strong probability of electing an African-American and a Democrat.
U.S. House of Representatives
In 1992, she decided to retire from the Texas Senate to run for the newly created Texas' 30th congressional district. She defeated Republican nominee Lucy Cain 72%-25%.
In 1994, she defeated Lucy Cain again 73%-26%. In 1996, she won re-election to a third term with just 55% of the vote, the worst election performance of her congressional career. After that, she never won re-election with less than 72% of the vote.
The 17th chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, she was a leading voice in opposition to the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002. During debate on the house floor, she stated:
"I am not convinced that giving the President the authority to launch a unilateral, first-strike attack on Iraq is the appropriate course of action at this time. While I believe that under international law and under the authority of our Constitution, the United States must maintain the option to act in its own self-defense, I strongly believe that the administration has not provided evidence of an imminent threat of attack on the United States that would justify a unilateral strike.
I also believe that actions alone, without exhausting peaceful options, could seriously harm global support for our war on terrorism and distract our own resources from this cause."
She was one of the 31 who voted in the House against counting the electoral votes from Ohio in the United States presidential election, 2004.
During the 2007 primary campaign, Johnson initially supported U.S. Senator John Edwards for president. After his withdrawal from the race, she pledged her support as a superdelegate to Barack Obama in 2008.
In August 2010, Amy Goldson, counsel for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, said that Johnson violated organizational rules by awarding scholarship money to four relatives and two children of a top aide. Awards come with an anti-nepotism rule, and winners must live or study in the Congress member's district. Johnson said she "unknowingly" made a mistake in awarding the grants and would work with the found
ation to rectify it. Johnson said, "I recognized the names when I saw them. And I knew that they had a need just like any other kid that would apply for one."
February 20th, 2012