I am deeply saddened by the passing of former Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, the former chair of the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. I had the privilege of meeting her a handful of times, and I was astounded by the breadth of her achievements in Congress. Congresswoman Johnson was a legislator’s legislator, a grand tradition of our republic. She drove important legislative advancements which spanned well beyond science. A woman of grace with a spine of steel, she also embodied the spirit of bipartisanship. Her partnership with Science Committee Ranking Member Frank Lucas in crafting the Science portion of the CHIPS & Science Act, once-in-a-generation legislation, will echo for decades.
Congresswoman Johnson held the distinction as the first registered nurse elected to Congress and the first woman and African American to chair the House Science Committee. For those and many other reasons, she made it her mission to fight for a STEMM workforce that reflects the rich diversity of our nation and to address sexual harassment in STEMM. That legacy lives on in the legislation she passed, the fierce advocacy she led, and the crucial remarks she delivered. We are grateful for the visionary words she shared at the first ever White House Summit on STEMM Equity and Excellence in 2022, where we launched the STEMM Opportunity Alliance, and at our first SEA Change awards ceremony at the 2019 AAAS Annual Meeting.
The scientific community has lost a real champion, and it is my hope that her legacy will inspire policies that advance science in service to society for many years to come. My thoughts are with her family, friends, and colleagues.