Long before U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson announced her retirement last Saturday, potential challengers, hopefuls and constituents speculated about her plans and contemplated who would be her successor.
At the beginning of her reign in Washington, the most prominent names mentioned were Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price and then recently-elected State Senator Royce West.
West, last week, announced that he would seek reelection to the seat he has held since 1993.
Almost 30 years later since she was elected and became the first nurse to serve in Congress, Johnson said she would endorse someone and that person would be a woman.
Wednesday freshman TX. State Rep. Jasmine Crockett received what some pundits say puts her at the top of the list of contenders.
“A vibrant congressional district like TX-30 needs a representative in Washington with high energy, a passion to fight for us, shrewd intelligence, leadership, and an incessant drive,” said Johnson in a statement that was released minutes before Rep. Crockett addressed the media on the steps of The Science Place in Fair Park. “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.”
Surrounded by residents of Texas House District 100, friends, supporters, constituents of District 30, and her pastor, Dr. Frederick D. Haynes III; Rep. Crockett, praised Congresswoman Johnson’s almost 50 years of service as an elected official and vowed that she too, would represent all citizens of House District 30.
Referring to her as a “giant,” Crockett shared some of Johnson’s legacy that included protest. “she has done her part and I feel so proud to think that she would think that I am worthy of the responsibility that comes with serving 766,000 people in Texas.
“Some may question if I’m ready. I am here to tell you, I am ready. I am battle-tested. There are a number of people who will most likely enter this race. There are none that I believe will enter this race that have been battle-tested like I have been this session,” she continued.
“When we walk into DC next session, I fully anticipate that we will be in the minority. We are going to need a strong voice for District 30 in DC. It’s not time to play. It’s not time to take a test and see if this person will work out. It’s time to check peoples’ records. My record is strong. It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about us!”
According to Johnson, Crockett has “clearly demonstrated thus far in her career as a civil rights attorney fighting for justice, and in her role as the representative of the State of Texas’ 100th House district. I categorically believe that Jasmine has the capability and the vision to take up the mantle to serve as your next U.S. House representative in Washington.”
Almost moved to tears as she talked about the senior legislator, Crockett said she didn’t seek out the position, but she is ready to serve on the federal level, where she can more effectively address and impact issues facing her constituents.
Dallas City Councilman Adam Bazaldua was one of several who spoke about Crockett’s commitment to her constituents.
“I’m excited to be here for a very exciting announcement,” said Bazaldua, whose Council district is included in House District 100 and U.S. Congressional District 30. “She stands up for the rights of all people. She stands up for voters rights. She stands up for women’s rights. She hit the ground running before she was elected.”
Bazaldua was joined by others including Glenn Heights Council woman Shaunte Allen, former Tarrant County Democratic Chair and Fort Worth mayoral candidate Deb Peoples, Texas State Board of Education Aiesha Davis, constituent Rachel Gonzalez.
Moving on to Washington was not a decision she said she made without consideration of HD30 and who would be her successor.
“I love my District,” she said, adding that while she wasn’t ready to offer an endorsement, she would be engaged in conversations as early as this weekend, to hopefully provide for a smooth transition for her constituents because she “did not want to leave them in questionable hands.”
As far as her priorities, Crockett discussed voting rights, redistricting, healthcare, reproductive rights, police reform and addressing issues she dealt with in Austin.
“The fact that I am going back 50 years when it comes to voting rights and reproductive rights is a problem within itself,” said Crockett.
Closing out remarks, Dr. Haynes of Friendship-West Baptist Church talked about what he referred to as “the fight against fascism” going on in America, and how it is important to have someone who knows how to fight, like his church member; who he said he also supported in her race for State Representative.
Also acknowledging that he was a participant in an exploratory committee for another candidate earlier this year, Rev. Haynes said his decision to support Crockett was not about the other candidate, “This is for Jasmine. This is the fighter right here. She fights for truth. She fights for justice. She fights for what is right and if we are going to win this fight, literally for the soul of this democracy; we have to have a fighter who gets it!”