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'God raises up those in authority': 4 highlights from Mike Johnson’s first speech as House speaker

His firefighter father

Newly elected U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson speaks after his election at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 25, 2023.
Newly elected U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson speaks after his election at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 25, 2023. | Tom Brenner/AFP via Getty Images

During his speech, Johnson spoke about his father, who served as a firefighter in his hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana, and how he had suffered a severe injury in 1984 that left him with a permanent disability.  

"After the explosion on that fateful day, he nearly died, and it was a long road back. It changed all of our life trajectories," said Johnson. "My dad, he lived with pain all the rest of his life."

Johnson said his father died from cancer three days before he was elected to Congress in 2016, noting that "he wanted to be there at my election night so badly."

"This was a big deal to him," the new speaker explained, who added that in 2017, while he was serving as speaker pro-tempore, he felt that "somehow" his late father "knew" what he was doing.

"I just knew in that moment that my father would be proud of me, and I felt that he was. And I think all of our parents are proud of what we're called to do here."

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