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Political activist for George H.W. Bush passes away

Jesse Johnson Jr., a veteran who campaigned for then congressman Bush, was inspired by the future president to run for county commissioner in Houston in 1974.

BRYAN, Texas — After a battle with cancer, political activist for George H.W. Bush, Jesse Johnson Junior passed away on Sunday. 

We met with his family back in October, profiling his wife Velma Jackson Johnson, who was the first black congressional secretary. 

Today, we put the spotlight on Jesse Johnson Jr.

Anyone who knew him would tell you he was a strong and courageous man with a gift.

“If he talks to anybody, they’re going to automatically believe what he says. He made a very good politician,” said his daughter, Charlotte Griffith-Johnson

It was gift his wife, Velma Jackson Johnson knew all too well. 

She was the president’s secretary during his time as a congressman, the first black woman to hold that position, and Jesse was right by her side during the campaign.

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Charlotte said, “They put signs out in people’s yards… they made phone calls. They had a headquarters.”

He was a big part of then congressman bush’s campaign… so much so… that he was inspired to run for office himself. 

“Two years later, my dad would run, campaign for county commissioner in Houston, Texas,” Charlotte said.

Even though he lost by a narrow margin, Johnson still loved making a difference and connecting with people where he could, as a board member for the NAACP in the 70's and 80's and a minister in the late 80's.

Charlotte said, “believe it or not, my dad loves to talk... because we all know how much ministers talk.” 

He talked to his community, his friends and his family up until his last breath.

“My daddy definitely inspired people," Charlotte said, "he has completed his work here. He is done. And he did a job well done.”

Charlotte and her family are doing well and are happy to know Jesse and his wife, Velma are together again. 

You can find his obituary here.

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