January 3, 2024

GOP Rep Retiring Earlier Than Expected to Serve as University President

Republican Representative Bill Johnson of Ohio submitted his resignation letter to the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, announcing an earlier-than-anticipated end to his term on January 21.

Johnson is stepping down to assume the role of president at Youngstown State University.

Originally expected to begin his new position on March 15, Johnson's early departure was confirmed by Michael Peterson, chairman of the YSU Board of Trustees, in a statement.

Peterson expressed excitement about Johnson starting earlier than planned and mentioned that the congressman would continue to engage with the university community during the interim period.

In late November, Johnson had announced his decision to leave the House but emphasized that he had several priorities to address before his departure.

Topics of importance that he noted included supporting tax exemption legislation for East Palestine, advocating for a rail safety bill, streamlining LNG export processes, and contributing to a responsible budget and spending package for the fiscal year.

Youngstown State University (YSU) trustees approved the hiring of Representative Bill Johnson as the university's president with an 8-1 vote on November 21, with Molly Seals casting the sole dissenting vote.

The decision followed a November 16 emergency meeting where trustees voted to offer Johnson a contract to succeed the retiring Jim Tressel.

Criticism has surrounded the hiring process as it marked the university's first confidential presidential search, with requests for applicant information being denied, citing its non-existence. Public comment was denied during the November 21 meeting, but it will be permitted at the upcoming Thursday meeting.

Despite spending two days on campus last week, Johnson, who skipped congressional votes, announced he won't attend the Thursday meeting, stating, "I still have work to complete at the U.S. House."

Despite his early exit, Johnson's departure will further reduce House Republicans' slim majority to 219-213. He is set to assume his role as president of Youngstown State University on January 22.

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