Election 2020

Oldest GOP Member of Congress Decides to Hang Up His Hat

Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) greets Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) during a ceremony in the House Ways and Committee hearing room on Nov. 15, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

WASHINGTON — Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) has decided that his 14th term in Congress will be his last.

The 86-year-old’s district north of Dallas, including Plano and McKinney, is considered a safe Republican seat.

“It has been an honor to serve my hometown, my community, and my country in the United States House of Representatives,” Johnson said in a statement on his Facebook page. “As the 115th Congress gets underway, I want folks to know I have decided this will be my last term.”

“Thank you for your faith and trust in me – the 3rd District truly is family. We’ve got a lot of important work in the days and months ahead, and I’m excited to get to it. God bless you and I salute you!”

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) noted that the congressman “is more than a dear friend and colleague — he is my hero.”

“This is a man who, even after serving in two wars and enduring seven years in the Hanoi Hilton, went right back to flying and ran for public office,” Ryan said. “We spent many years together on the Ways and Means Committee, where I learned so much from Sam about tackling the big issues that make a difference in people’s lives.”

“Sam’s retirement from this House is sad news, but we can take heart today in all this man — the greatest living man I know — has done and given to our country,” he added. “I will cherish working alongside him for the next two years.”

Johnson, a retired Air Force colonel, flew in the Korean and Vietnam wars before entering politics in the Texas House of Representatives in 1984.

He is the third-oldest lawmaker in the House. The dean of the House, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), is 87 and has served in Congress for 52 years. Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), also 87, has served since 1987.