Johnson to seek top Dem spot on Science and Technology panel

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson will seek the top Democratic seat on the House Science and Technology Committee, the Texas Democrat announced this week.

Johnson, who will be entering her 10th term next year, said she'll use the position to promote clean energy, science education and a stronger NASA program.

"I would continue to emphasize the need to invest in basic scientific research and development to support our nation’s energy independence and security, to create new technologies, industries, and jobs that will catalyze our nation’s embattled middle class and fulfill a mission for the U.S. to lead the world in clean technology," Johnson said in a statement.

Such advancements, said Johnson, will "help rebuild our nation’s economy through science" and  enhance our standard of living, foster new industries and retain our global competitiveness."

The panel's top Democratic slot opened up because the current chairman, Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) is retiring at the end of the year, and Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.), the second in-line, announced Monday that he won't seek the ranking membership of the science committee.

Costello said he'd rather focus his energies on legislation in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he'll rank at least third among Democrats.

"I want to maintain my focus on these issues in which I have invested so much time and attention, and which should be a major part of our continued efforts to improve the economy,” Costello said in a statement. 

Johnson is also a member of the Transportation panel.