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U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson Address Bridgeport High School Students

Photo by Shelley Hanson U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, addresses Bridgeport High School seniors and juniors during an assembly on Monday at the school.

BRIDGEPORT — U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, told Bridgeport High School students if someone like himself — a kid who grew up on a farm that used mules — can make it, so can they.

Johnson addressed the school’s senior and juniors during an assembly in the gymnasium Monday. The congressman was invited by school officials to speak to the students. He was introduced by junior Vetria Foster.

“We actually farmed with mules up until I was 13 years old. We had no indoor plumbing. Everything we did every day was a matter of survival,” said Johnson, adding that even the mule was borrowed from a neighbor.

“But we’re not here to talk about me — we’re here to talk about you. This part of the job is the most enjoyable part of the job for me,” he said.

Johnson, 62, said he wants to make young people’s futures as bright and optimistic as his own. He also wants them to have the opportunities that he had growing up. Johnson served in the U.S. Air Force for 26 years.

“I have great confidence in the future of our country because of you. … It’s going to be your turn to take the reins of leadership and take us on America’s next great phase of our journey,” Johnson said. “We’re not like the great nations of Europe, where the president can abolish the legislature and resign and say, ‘We’re going to rewrite the constitution and we’re going to start all over again.’ … We’re a pass/fail system. We either pass together, all of us, or we fail together, all of us.

“There is no exit ramp in the Constitution of the United States. Whether we like our president or not, we put up with them for four to eight years. Whether we like our senators or congressmen or not, we put up with them for two or six years. The good news is, we get an opportunity to say who replaces them. If you don’t like the job they’re doing, you get to say something about it. You have a voice in that because you are the board of directors of the most powerful nation on the planet. …

“I’m just telling you young people, if I can do it — coming from a mule farming background, struggling through school, raised in a dysfunctional family, 13 schools in 12 years, sometimes multiple schools in a year — if I can do it, you can do it. It’s not rocket science,” Johnson said. “It takes a heart of service and belief that we are the great nation on the planet and a desire to make a difference for your generation and for your family. I could now be looking into the eyes of future congressmen, future senators and future presidents.”

Johnson also took some questions from students regarding his views on defense, education, social media and health care.


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