Samuel Robert Johnson (October 11, 1930 – May 27, 2020) was an American politician who served as the U.S. Representative for Texas's 3rd congressional district in Congress from 1991 to 2019. He was a member of the Republican Party. In October and November 2015, he was the acting Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, where he also served as chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee.
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Texas's 3rd district
May 8, 1991 – January 3, 2019
|Preceded by||Steve Bartlett|
|Succeeded by||Van Taylor|
|Acting Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee|
October 29, 2015 – November 5, 2015
|Preceded by||Paul Ryan|
|Succeeded by||Kevin Brady|
|Member of the Texas House of Representatives|
from the 60th district
January 8, 1985 – May 21, 1991
|Preceded by||Frank Eikenburg|
|Succeeded by||Brian McCall|
Samuel Robert Johnson
October 11, 1930
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
|Died||May 27, 2020 (aged 89)|
Plano, Texas, U.S.
(m. 1950; died 2015)
|Education||Southern Methodist University (BBA)|
George Washington University (MS)
|Branch/service||United States Air Force|
|Years of service||1950–1979|
|Unit||51st Fighter Interceptor Wing|
8th Tactical Fighter Wing
|Commands||31st Tactical Fighter Wing|
|Awards||Silver Star (2)|
Legion of Merit (3)
Distinguished Flying Cross
Bronze Star with valor
Purple Heart (2)
Meritorious Service Medal
Air Medal (4)
Prisoner of War Medal
Johnson was also a United States Air Force colonel and was a decorated fighter pilot in both the Korean War and the Vietnam War where in the latter he was an American prisoner of war in North Vietnam for nearly seven years. On January 6, 2017, Johnson announced he would not run for reelection in 2018. After the death of Louise Slaughter in March 2018, he became the oldest sitting member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He was the last Korean War veteran to serve in Congress.
Early life and educationEdit
Johnson was born October 11, 1930, in San Antonio, Texas, the son of Mima (Nabors) and Samuel Robert Johnson Jr. . Johnson grew up in Dallas and graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1947. Johnson graduated from Southern Methodist University in his hometown in 1951, earning a bachelor's degree in business administration. While at SMU, Johnson joined the Delta Chi social fraternity as well as the Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity. He attained a master's degree from the Elliott School of International Affairs of the George Washington University in 1976.
Johnson had a 29-year career in the United States Air Force, where he served as director of the Air Force Fighter Weapons School and flew the F-100 Super Sabre with the Air Force Thunderbirds precision flying demonstration team. He commanded the 31st Tactical Fighter Wing at Homestead AFB, Florida and an air division at Holloman AFB, New Mexico, retiring as a colonel. One of his classmates in flight school was future astronaut Buzz Aldrin. The two remained lifelong friends.
He was a combat veteran of both the Korean and Vietnam Wars as a fighter pilot. During the Korean War, he flew 62 combat missions in the F-86 Sabre and shot down one Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15. During the Vietnam War, Johnson flew the F-4 Phantom II.
On April 16, 1966, while flying his 25th combat mission in Vietnam, he was shot down over North Vietnam and suffered a broken arm and back. He was a prisoner of war for nearly seven years, including 42 months in solitary confinement. During this period, he was repeatedly tortured.
Johnson was part of a group of eleven U.S. military prisoners known as the Alcatraz Gang, a group of prisoners separated from other captives for their resistance to their captors. They were held in "Alcatraz", a special facility about one mile away from the Hỏa Lò Prison, notably nicknamed the "Hanoi Hilton". Johnson, like the others, was kept in solitary confinement, locked nightly in legcuffs in a windowless 3-by-9-foot concrete cell with the light on around the clock. Johnson was released on February 12, 1973, during Operation Homecoming. He recounted the details of his POW experience in his autobiography, Captive Warriors.
Johnson walked with a noticeable limp, due to a wartime injury.
Post-military career in TexasEdit
After his military career, he established a homebuilding business in Plano. He was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1984 and was re-elected three times, serving a total of seven years in the state legislature.
U.S. House of RepresentativesEdit
On May 8, 1991, he was elected to the U.S. House in a special election brought about by eight-year incumbent Steve Bartlett's resignation to become mayor of Dallas. Johnson defeated fellow conservative Republican Thomas Pauken, also of Dallas, 24,004 (52.6 percent) to 21,647 (47.4 percent).
Johnson ran unopposed by the Democratic Party in his district in the 2004 election. Paul Jenkins, an independent, and James Vessels, a member of the Libertarian Party, ran against Johnson. Johnson won overwhelmingly in a highly Republican district. Johnson garnered 86% of the vote (178,099), while Jenkins earned 8% (16,850) and Vessels 6% (13,204).
In the general election, Johnson faced Democrat Dan Dodd and Libertarian Christopher J. Claytor. Both Dodd and Claytor are West Point graduates. Dodd was a U.S. Air Force officer who served in Vietnam, while Claytor served in Operation Southern Watch in Kuwait in 1992. It was only the fourth time that Johnson had faced Democratic opposition.
Johnson retained his seat, taking 62.5% of the vote, while Dodd received 34.9% and Claytor received 2.6%. However, this was by far less a margin of victory then in past years, when Johnson won by 80 percent or more.
Johnson retained his seat in the House of Representatives by defeating Democrat Tom Daley and Libertarian nominee Christopher J. Claytor in the 2008 general election. He won with 60 percent of the vote, an unusually low total for such a heavily Republican district.
Johnson handily won re-nomination to his twelfth full term in the U.S. House in the Republican primary held on March 4. He polled 30,943 votes (80.5 percent); two challengers, Josh Loveless and Harry Pierce, held the remaining combined 19.5 percent of the votes cast.
Johnson won reelection to his 13th full term in the general election held on November 8, 2016. With 193,684 votes (61.2 percent), he defeated Democrat Adam P. Bell, who polled 109,420 (34.6 percent). Scott Jameson and Paul Blair, the nominees of the Libertarian and Green parties, polled 10,448 votes (3.3 percent) and 2,915 (0.92 percent), respectively.
Three days after being sworn in for his 14th term overall and his 13th full term, Johnson announced he would not run for reelection.
In the House, Johnson was an ardent conservative. By some views, Johnson had the most conservative record in the House for three consecutive years, opposing pork barrel projects of all kinds, voting for more IRAs and against extending unemployment benefits. The conservative watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste consistently rated him as being friendly to taxpayers. Johnson was a signer of Americans for Tax Reform's Taxpayer Protection Pledge.
Johnson was a member of the conservative Republican Study Committee, and joined Dan Burton, Ernest Istook, and John Doolittle in refounding it in 1994 after Newt Gingrich pulled its funding. He alternated as chairman with the other three co-founders in the late 1990s.
On the Ways and Means Committee, he was an early advocate and, then, sponsor of the successful repeal in 2000 of the earnings limit for Social Security recipients. He proposed the Good Samaritan Tax Act to allow corporations to take a tax deduction for charitable giving of food. He chaired the Subcommittee on Employer-Employee Relations, where he encouraged small business owners to expand their pension and benefits for employees. In December 2016, Johnson introduced H.R. 6489, a bill that would decrease Social Security payments to retired individuals and require individuals to wait two additional years in order to qualify for full retirement payments.
Johnson opposed calls for government intervention in the name of energy reform if such reform would hamper the market and or place undue burdens on individuals seeking to earn decent wages. He called for allowing additional drilling for oil in Alaska.
In December 2017, Johnson signed a letter from Congress (along with 106 other Congress members) to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai supporting his plan to repeal net neutrality ahead of the commission's vote.
- Committee on Ways and Means (Interim Chairman)
- Joint Committee on Taxation
- Immigration Reform Caucus
- United States Congressional International Conservation Caucus
- Public Pension Reform Caucus
- Sportsmen's Caucus
Johnson was married to Shirley L. Melton of Dallas from 1950 until her death on December 3, 2015. They had three children together (Gini, Beverly, and Bob) and ten grandchildren. Bob predeceased both his parents in 2013.
Johnson died on May 27, 2020 in Plano, Texas, the city where he lived the last years of his life. The cause of death was not disclosed but a former spokesperson had announced it was unrelated to COVID-19. He was 89.
Johnson's decorations and awards included:
|US Air Force Command Pilot Badge|
|Air Force Parachutist Badge|
Other awards and honorsEdit
- 1990: Johnson was inducted into the Woodrow Wilson High School Hall of Fame.
- October 2009: the Congressional Medal of Honor Society awarded Johnson the National Patriot Award, the Society's highest civilian award given to Americans who exemplify patriotism and strive to better the nation.
- 2011: Freedom of Flight award
- March 2016: Congressional Patriots Award
- April 2016: Patriot Award
- 2015: Johnson was inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame at the San Diego Air & Space Museum.
- Scott Bland; Kyle Cheney (January 6, 2017). "Texas Rep. Sam Johnson announces he won't run for reelection". Politico.
- "With McCain's Death, Carper Is Senate's Only Vietnam Veteran". Bloomberg Government. August 26, 2018. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
- Neal, John Whitman Monroe (1976). Neighbours. Taylor Publishing Company. p. 86.
- "Mima Nabors Johnson (1903-1992) - Find A Grave..." www.findagrave.com. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
- U.S. Congress.Biographical Directory of the United States Congress: Sam Johnson
- Rotunda Yearbook. Dallas, Texas: Southern Methodist University. 1951. p. 284.
- Weissert, Will (May 27, 2020). "Sam Johnson, ex-Texas GOP congressman and Vietnam POW, dies". Associated Press. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
- Morreale, Johnny (November 8, 2016). "Business school alumnus re-elected in Texas congressional race". The GW Hatchet. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
- "BUZZ" (PDF). AIR FORCE Magazine.
- "U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson : Serving the 3rd District of Texas". Samjohnson.house.gov. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
- Swartsell, Nick (May 27, 2020). "Longtime Texas congressman Sam Johnson, POW in Vietnam, dies at age 89". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
- Adams, Lorraine. "Perot's Interim Partner Spent 71⁄2 Years As Pow", Dallas Morning News, March 11, 1992. Accessed July 2, 2008. "He was one of the Alcatraz Gang – a group of 11 prisoners of war who were separated because they were leaders of the prisoners' resistance."
- Rochester, Stuart; and Kiley, Frederick. "Honor Bound: American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia, 1961–1973", 2007, Naval Institute Press; ISBN 1-59114-738-7, via Google Books, p. 326. Retrieved July 8, 2008.
- Stockdale, James B. "George Coker for Beach Schools", letter to The Virginian-Pilot, March 26, 1996.
- Johnston, Laurie (December 18, 1974). "Notes on People, Mao Meets Mobutu in China". The New York Times. Retrieved May 3, 2010.
- Kimberlin, Joanne (November 11, 2008). "Our POWs: Locked up for 6 years, he unlocked a spirit inside". The Virginian Pilot. Landmark Communications. pp. 12–13. Retrieved November 11, 2008.
- "Advisory: Smithsonian Accepts Congressman Sam Johnson's POW Possessions; Tin Cup, Toothpaste From Vietnam War Join National Museum of American History's Collections". newsdesk.si.edu. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
- "A touching tribute: McCain's former Vietnam cellmate Republican Rep. Sam Johnson honors his friend". MSN. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
- Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. Elections 6th ed., Washington, D.C., 2010, p. 1341
- "Member Profile – Sam Johnson, R". Roll Call. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved February 22, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Dallas-Fort Worth Politics | The Dallas Morning News". Dallasnews.com. March 8, 2006. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
- "Texas candidates for State Representative, Governor, State Cabinet, U.S. Senator and Congress". North Texas e-News. January 12, 2006. Archived from the original on May 28, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
- "Christopher Claytor, candidate for United States Representative". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on May 28, 2020. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
- Guttery, Ben R. (2007). Representing Texas. BookSurge Publishing. p. 84.
- Porter, Brian (November 14, 2006). "County goes Democratic; Republicans hold state, national posts". Mesquite News. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
- "Texas Election Results 2010". The New York Times. 2010. Retrieved March 15, 2011.
- "Republican primary election returns, March 4, 2014". Texas Secretary of State. Archived from the original on March 5, 2014. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
- "Election Results". Texas Secretary of State. November 8, 2016. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
- "The Taxpayer Protection Pledge Signers 112th Congressional List" (PDF). Americans for Tax Reform. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
- "Member List". Republican Study Committee. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
- Alberta, Tim (May 24, 2013). "The Cabal That Quietly Took Over the House". The Atlantic. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
- Trescott, Jacqueline (May 25, 2020). "The NEA's Uphill Battle". April 10, 1997. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
- "Bill Summary & Status – 109th Congress (2005–2006) – H.R.525 – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". Thomas.loc.gov. July 27, 2005. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
- Wolff-Mann, Ethan. "GOP introduces plan to massively cut Social Security". Yahoo Finance. December 9, 2016.
- "H.R.6489: To preserve Social Security for generations to come, reward work, and improve retirement security". United States Congress. December 8, 2016; retrieved December 12, 2016.
- "Sam Johnson on Energy & Oil". On the Issues. Snopes. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
- Roth, Bennett (November 9, 2005). "Moderate Republicans balk at refuge drilling". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
- Catalina Camia (March 14, 2013). "McCain marks 40th anniversary of POW release". Army Times. USA Today. Retrieved March 15, 2013.
- "Letter to the FCC on Restoring Internet Freedom". ENERGY AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE. December 13, 2017. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
- "Neal Statement on the Passing of Former Ways and Means Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson". House Committee on Ways and Means. US House of Representatives. May 27, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
- "Joint Hearing on Statutorily Required Audits of Medicare Advantage Plan Bids". House Committee on Ways and Means. US House of Representatives. October 16, 2009. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
- "General Explanation of Tax Legislation Enacted in 2015 (Joint Committee Blue Book)". Joint Committee on Taxation. US House of Representatives. March 2016. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
- "Dangerous Liaisons: Congressmen to Join Nativist Hate Group Today". Southern Poverty Law Center. November 6, 2009. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
- "Our Members". U.S. House of Representatives International Conservation Caucus. Archived from the original on August 1, 2018. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
- "Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus Membership in the 115th Congress" (PDF). Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus. December 5, 2018. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
- "Congressman Sam Johnson on the passing of wife, Shirley Melton Johnson". Congressman Sam Johnson. December 3, 2015. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
- writerEmailEmailBioBioFollowFollow, Matt Schudel closeMatt SchudelObituary. "Sam Johnson, Vietnam POW who became a Texas congressman, dies at 89". Washington Post. Retrieved May 31, 2020.
- "Veteran Tributes". www.veterantributes.org. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
- "Woodrow Wilson Hall of Fame". Woodrow Wilson High School Alumni Association. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
- "Congressional Medal of Honor Society selects Sam Johnson for its National Patriot Award | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Texas Politics | The Dallas Morning News". Dallasnews.com. October 3, 2009. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
- "Sam Johnson - gop.gov". Retrieved February 12, 2018.
- "Sam Johnson Awarded Inaugural Bipartisan Congressional Patriot Award". Congressman Sam Johnson. March 16, 2016. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
- report, Staff. "U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson honored with Patriot Award at Dallas Military Foundation Gala". Retrieved February 12, 2018.
- Sprekelmeyer, Linda, editor. These We Honor: The International Aerospace Hall of Fame. Donning Co. Publishers, 2006. ISBN 978-1-57864-397-4.
- Sam Johnson at Curlie
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Tribute to Sam Johnson, Smithsonian Institution
- Texas Nonprofit Is Cleared After GOP-Prompted Audit: Group Says Probe Was 'Political Retaliation' by DeLay Allies, Washington Post, February 27, 2006
|Texas House of Representatives|
| Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from the 60th district
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 3rd congressional district
| Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee
| Chair of the Joint Taxation Committee|
| Oldest member of the U.S. House of Representatives
|Party political offices|
| Chair of the Republican Study Committee
Served alongside: Dan Burton, John Doolittle, Ernest Istook
| Chair of the Republican Study Committee