Rep. Sam Johnson (R)
Elected: May 1991, 9th full term.
Born: Oct. 11, 1930, San Antonio .
Education: S. Methodist U., B.B.A. 1951, George Washington U., M.S. 1974.
Family: Married (Shirley); 3 children.
Military career: Air Force, 1950–79 (Korea & Vietnam).
Elected office: TX House of Reps., 1984–91.
Professional Career: Home builder.
The congressman from the 3rd District is Sam Johnson, a Republican first elected in 1991. Johnson grew up in Dallas and graduated from Southern Methodist University and George Washington University. He was a director of the Air Force Fighter Weapons (Top Gun) School, and as a fighter pilot, flew 87 combat missions during the wars in Korea and Vietnam. After his F-4 was shot down over North Vietnam during his 25th mission, he was imprisoned from 1966 to 1973 in the “Hanoi Hilton,” where he spent 42 months in solitary confinement. He weighed 120 pounds on his release, and was left with a slight stoop in his walk and a disfigured hand. On his return, Johnson started a homebuilding company and was elected to the Texas House in 1984. He was elected to Congress in a 1991 special election, after Republican Steve Bartlett resigned to become mayor of Dallas. Johnson ran second in the primary, behind former Peace Corps director Tom Pauken. In the runoff, he emphasized his war record and won 53%-47% over Pauken; he won without difficulty in the general election.
|Sam Johnson (R)||170,742||(60%)||($1,569,813)|
|Tom Daley (D)||108,693||(38%)||($73,653)|
|Christopher Claytor (Lib)||6,348||(2%)|
|Sam Johnson (R)||36,050||(87%)|
|Harry Pierce (R)||3,466||(8%)|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (63%), 2004 (86%), 2002 (74%), 2000 (72%), 1998 (91%), 1996 (73%), 1994 (91%), 1992 (86%), 1991 (53%)
Johnson has one of the most conservative voting records in the House. He was a founder of the Conservative Action Team, now known as the Republican Study Committee, which has pressed Republican leaders to support goals ranging from a balanced budget amendment to shutting down the National Endowment for the Arts. His chief source of concern is taxation. Every two years, he offers a constitutional amendment to repeal the 16th Amendment, which authorized the federal income tax. On the Ways and Means Committee, where he is the third-most senior Republican, Johnson sponsored the successful repeal in 2000 of the earnings limit for Social Security recipients. He was a leading proponent of pension reform that was enacted in 2006, and in 2007 he introduced a bill to encourage small businesses to join forces to purchase health insurance at lower costs. In 2008, he introduced a bill to repeal the Internal Revenue Service’s requirement that people keep detailed records of their business cellular phone use in order to claim them as tax deductions. That year, he sponsored a bill to increase tax deductions for electronic medical records equipment.
Johnson has also focused on military issues. He helped to enact the Military Family Tax Relief Act of 2003, which doubled the death benefit for families of active members of the military who pass away and also reduced taxes for those families. Johnson has been a defender of the F-22 fighter jet, partly produced at the Lockheed Martin plant in Fort Worth near his district. Johnson gained national attention in February 2007 when he spoke emotionally on the House floor against a plan by Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi to set a timetable to withdraw from Iraq. Invoking his memories of Vietnam, he said, “I know what it’s like to be far from home and hear that your country and your Congress don’t care about you. Our troops stand up for us every minute of every day. We must stand up for them in Congress.” Even though he and McCain, who was also a Vietnam prisoner of war, shared a cell for 18 months, they have had a chilly political relationship. Johnson strongly backed Bush in the 2000 primaries, stating that McCain “cannot hold a candle to George Bush.” And in 2008, he did not endorse McCain until late February, after McCain had wrapped up the nomination. During the 2004 presidential campaign, Johnson was an outspoken critic of John Kerry, whom he called “Hanoi John” on the House floor, a reference to Kerry’s active opposition to the war once he returned from service in Vietnam.
In 2008, Johnson was reelected with 60% of the vote against a poorly financed foe. This was his smallest share of the vote since his first win. Both Johnson and Republican Rep. Ralph Hall of the adjacent 4th district will be in their 80s by the 2010 election, and changes in representation and district boundaries in the North Texas suburbs seem imminent.