Ohio's stalwart representative, Bill Johnson, dropped a political bombshell today.
U.S. Representative Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, announced his retirement from Congress, signaling a significant shift in the politics of Ohio's 6th congressional district and a new chapter for Youngstown State University.
The congressman, serving his 7th term, has represented Ohio's 6th district since 2010. However, he announced he would not be seeking an 8th term. Instead, Johnson will be taking up the mantle as president of Youngstown State University.
The decision to transition from political life to academia was not a light one for Johnson. The Youngstown State Board of Trustees had voted overwhelmingly (8-1) to offer him the presidential position. He will succeed former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel, marking a significant change in leadership style for the institution.
Youngstown State University, currently under the interim presidency of Helen K. Lafferty, will officially welcome Johnson as president in March 2023.
Meanwhile, Johnson will continue serving his constituents in Congress until he takes up his new role, ensuring a smooth transition of duties.
Johnson announced on a social media platform, X, where he shared his thoughts on the transition. He wrote:
"After much thought and prayerful deliberation, I have accepted the offer to lead Youngstown State University and will not be seeking an 8th term in Congress... As I’ve stated previously, I wasn’t looking for another job, because I love the one I have serving the people of Eastern Ohio in the U.S. House. This was an extremely difficult decision."
He assured his constituents that his commitment to them remains unwavering during this transition period. He stated:
"This is not a goodbye, however. I will continue serving in the House for several more months, and you will see no let up. My offices are open and my staff remains ready to serve you."
Despite his impending departure from Congress, Johnson emphasized his ongoing legislative efforts. He pledged to continue working tirelessly on important issues for the remainder of his term. He particularly mentioned his commitment to tax exemption legislation for East Palestine, a broader rail safety bill, streamlining America's LNG export process, and pushing for a responsible budget and spending package.
As Johnson prepares for his new role, the political landscape of Ohio's 6th district will undoubtedly shift. The filing deadline for congressional candidates is set for December 20, 2023, with the primary election scheduled for March 19, 2024.
While his departure marks the end of an era in Ohio politics, it also opens up a new chapter for Youngstown State University. The university community will undoubtedly be watching eagerly as Johnson steps into his new role as president.