Decorated war hero and longtime conservative U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX 3rd District) says he will not seek re-election to a 10th term.
Johnson, who is 86 and resides in Plano, has served the 3rd District, which covers most of Collin County, since 1992.
"After much prayer, I have decided I will not seek re-election to serve the Third District of Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018. This will be my final term in the appropriately named 'People’s House,'" Johnson said in a statement on his website. "It has been a distinct honor and privilege to work on your behalf all these years. From passing laws, to helping constituents with problems like obtaining their military service medals, making a difference is what motivated my service from my very first day."
Johnson, who grew up in Dallas and graduated from Southern Methodist University, is a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means and serves as the chairman of the Social Security subcommittee.
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Among his notable legislative accomplishments, Johnson and U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX 5th District) introduced legislation to repeal the Wright Amendment -- giving consumers more options out of Dallas' Love Field airport and has made veterans issues and Social Security legislation the focus of his record.
Before joining congress, Johnson spent 29 years in the Air Force where he flew combat missions over Korea and Vietnam. He was shot down while flying a combat mission in 1966 over Vietnam and was held captive for seven years at the "Hanoi Hilton," half of which he spent in solitary confinement. He wrote at length about the experience in his autobiography, "Captive Warriors."
"The celebratory homecoming parade thrown in my hometown of Plano upon my return from Hanoi will always rank among one of my most treasured memories, encapsulating all that I love about America – faith, family, and freedom," Johnson said in his letter to constituents Friday.
According to his house.gov biography, Johnson was awarded two Silver Stars, two Legions of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, one Bronze Star with Valor, two Purple Hearts, four Air Medals, and three Outstanding Unit Awards for his service.
Shirley, Johnson's wife of 65 years, died last winter. In his letter, Johnson again thanked his supporters for their unwavering support.
"Just as I have stood for you, you have stood by me – and for that I sincerely thank you," Johnson said.
Johnson was well respected in Texas and on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers were quick to comment after the announcement.
"Congressman Sam Johnson is a Texan, born in Dallas, Texas. He serves among not only the finest of the men and women because of his military service, but he brought that same tenacity to Congress. He has brought balance and teamwork and he was always admired, not only as a Texan but a man who showed up doing his homework and he has been a huge part of our success," said U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas.
“Congressman Sam Johnson’s unwavering service to this country will be remembered long after he leaves Washington. While many will remember Rep. Johnson for his tireless work on the Ways and Means Committee and his time in the House of Representatives, Texans will also remember him for his military service to our nation, his sacrifice as a Prisoner of War in Vietnam and his commitment to helping our veterans. Cecilia and I wish him the best in his retirement and thank him for his selfless service to the State of Texas," said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.