Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D)
Texas 30th District
Cotton was originally the major crop in northern Texas, and many of Dallas’s first enterprising businessmen, after the railroad reached the Trinity River in the 1870s, were cotton brokers. Railroads made Dallas rich and helped it to grow. Geographically, Dallas is directly west of the Black Belt of Alabama and the Mississippi Delta, both heavy cotton-producing areas in the days before the boll weevil. Many blacks and whites came west on U.S. 80—and now Interstate 20—to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, now the largest metro area in the South. The south side of Dallas is predominately African-American. The Trinity River Corridor project, which has been discussed for decades and is estimated to cost $1.2 billion, is moving toward reality, with its ambitious plans for flood control, recreational facilities, and transportation improvements, including three new suspension bridges.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 30th Congressional District of Texas, designed as the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex’s black-majority district, includes most of the city’s African-American neighborhoods. Its creation in 1991 was insisted on by the then-chairman of the Texas Senate’s redistricting committee, and the result was one of the most grotesquely shaped districts in the country. Its center was south and east Dallas, but it had tentacles as complex as a DNA molecule. Since then, lawsuits and two more rounds of redistricting have smoothed out the lines and left this as the only Democratic district in the Metroplex. Today, the 30th District includes two compact geographic units centered in downtown Dallas. One consists of most of the south side of Dallas; the other runs northwest out Stemmons Freeway. In between is the “mixmaster,” where three busy interstates—Interstates 30, 35E and 45—come together within a square mile, surrounding many of the prominent sites in Dallas.
The district’s population was 41% black and 34% Hispanic in 2000 and now is 39% black and 41% Hispanic. The Hispanic population is mostly young and foreign-born, and 90% of the Latinos are from Mexico. Redistricting in 2011 likely will produce a Hispanic-majority district in the Dallas area. The growing influence of racial minorities in the city has been a major factor in the Democrats’ recent capture of control of many Dallas County offices and seats in the Texas Legislature. In 2004, George W. Bush lost here 75%-25%, his worst performance in Texas. In 2008, Republican nominee John McCain lost 82%-18%, also his worst performance in the state.
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D)
Elected: 1992, 9th term.
Born: Dec. 3, 1935, Waco .
Education: St. Mary's at Notre Dame, B.A. 1955, TX Christian U., B.S. 1967, S. Methodist U., M.P.A. 1976.
Family: Divorced; 1 child.
Elected office: TX House of Reps., 1972–1977; TX Senate, 1986–92.
Professional Career: Registered nurse; Regional dir., U.S. Dept. of HEW, 1977–80; Mgmt. consultant, Sammons Corp., 1979–81; Owner, Eddie Bernice Johnson & Assoc., 1981–present.
The congresswoman from the 30th District is Eddie Bernice Johnson, first elected in 1992. She grew up in Texas, graduated from Texas Christian University with a nursing degree, and later got a master’s degree in public administration at Southern Methodist University. She worked at St. Paul Hospital and was the chief psychiatric nurse at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Dallas. In 1972, she was elected to the Texas House, the first black woman elected to the Legislature from Dallas. She became a regional director of the old Health, Education and Welfare Department under Democratic President Jimmy Carter. She was elected to the Texas Senate in 1986. As the Senate’s Redistricting Committee chairman in 1991, she was instrumental in creating the new 30th District. She won the Democratic primary with 92% of the vote and has not had effective opposition since.
|Eddie Bernice Johnson (D)||168,249||(82%)||($459,462)|
|Fred Wood (R)||32,361||(16%)|
|Eddie Bernice Johnson (D)||Unopposed|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (80%), 2004 (93%), 2002 (74%), 2000 (92%), 1998 (72%), 1996 (55%), 1994 (73%), 1992 (72%)
In the House, Johnson has a mostly liberal voting record, but she has been attentive to business interests in Dallas. She has sharp political instincts. In the past, she has chaired the influential Congressional Black Caucus. And she supported Democrat Nancy Pelosi of California for minority leader over her former Metroplex colleague Rep. Martin Frost, with whom Johnson had a testy relationship, particularly on redistricting issues. Her support for Pelosi put her in good stead with the Democratic leadership when Pelosi rose to House speaker in 2007. Though Johnson once pledged to labor unions to oppose the North American Free Trade Agreement, she changed her mind and voted for it in 1993. Dallas probably exports more to Mexico than any other American city, and many jobs depend on those exports. Johnson also sided with business on normalizing trade relations with China.
On the Science Committee, Johnson shared credit for passing the Networking and Information Research and Development Act to double funding for information research. She also sought to double spending for the National Science Foundation. As a health-care professional, she has taken an interest in minority health issues.
On the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Johnson got a seat on the Aviation Subcommittee, of great importance to her district. The 30th District is close to the bustling Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, and it includes three other airports: Love Field, Lancaster, and Dallas Executive. Although she initially had objections, which included concerns about additional air traffic, she eventually cooperated with Republicans from the Metroplex in repealing the Wright Amendment. Named for former Democratic House Speaker Jim Wright, a Democrat from Forth Worth, the amendment restricted air traffic out of Dallas’s Love Field as a way of protecting the competitive position of the larger Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. Johnson helped broker the deal by encouraging more local coordination between the airports.
She is now the chairman of the panel’s Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee. As her top local priority, she worked to secure funds for construction of the Interstate 30 suspension bridge over the Trinity River, and she continues to support Trinity River projects.