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Ohio Rep. Bill Johnson leaving Congress to accept role as president of Youngstown State

Ohio Republican Rep. Bill Johnson announced his retirement from the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday for a new position leading Youngstown State University.

U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, announced Tuesday that he is retiring from Congress to accept an offer to become president of Youngstown State University.

Johnson, who was first elected to the U.S. House in 2010, will continue in his role as a lawmaker for several more months before starting as president of Youngstown State University in March.

"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," Johnson wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. "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."

"This is not a goodbye, however. I will continue serving in the House for several more months, and you will see no let up," the outgoing congressman continued. "My offices are open and my staff remains ready to serve you."


The Youngstown State University Board of Trustees voted 8-1 on Tuesday to offer Johnson his new job as president of the institution.

Johnson, 69, will succeed former Ohio State University football head coach Jim Tressel, who left as Youngstown president in February. Helen K. Lafferty is currently serving as the university's interim president.

"There is still much left on my agenda to do before I depart Congress, including doing all I can to help pass tax exemption legislation to benefit the people of East Palestine as well as a broader rail safety bill, streamline America’s LNG export process, and advance a responsible budget and spending package for the remainder of this fiscal year. It’s business as usual," Johnson wrote in his statement on X.


The Ohio lawmaker represents the state's sixth congressional district, which covers the East Palestine area where a Norfolk Southern train derailed in February, resulting in black smoke blanketing the village and hazardous chemicals spilling into the community’s soil and water.

The filing deadline for congressional candidates to submit signed petitions to run in party primaries for the two-year term that starts January 2025 is Dec. 20, and the primary election will be held in Ohio on March 19. 

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine will decide if and when to schedule a special election to select someone to replace Johnson in Congress for the rest of 2024.

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