Democratic Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson endorsed a Texas state lawmaker to replace her in Congress, after announcing her intent to retire earlier this month.
Ms. Johnson, 85, gave her blessing to state Rep. Jasmine Crockett, who has made racial equity and criminal justice reform a centerpiece of her campaign.
“After proudly serving the City of Dallas and Southern sector for 30 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, I firmly believe that Texas State Representative Jasmine Crockett is just the person we need in Congress at this critical time,” Ms. Johnson said in a statement, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Ms. Crockett said she hopes to continue Ms. Johnson’s legacy if she wins the seat.
“The Congresswoman was one of the first Black women elected to the Texas House and I am the most recent — this responsibility has not been lost on me,” Ms. Crockett said in a statement.
The candidate also emphasized her efforts to expand voting rights, adding that the current GOP-led legislature offered the “worst legislative session in Texas history.”
Ms. Crockett was one of the 60 Democratic state lawmakers who fled to Washington, D.C. in July to protest S.B. 1, a Republican-backed bill to institute changes in the state’s voting laws many Democrats said would disproportionately impact minority voters. After the standoff was ended, the bill went on to pass the state legislature and was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott in September.
Ms. Johnson has represented her Dallas district for 30 years, breaking barriers in becoming the first Black person elected to public office from Dallas.
Ms. Johnson was also the first registered nurse elected to Congress in 1992.
The lawmaker is one of several House Democrats to announce their retirement plans ahead of the 2022 midterms, expected to advantage Republicans.
More than 15 Democrats have announced their intent to step down next year.