WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) spoke on the House Floor this afternoon to honor Betsy Bossart, who served the people of the Fifth District as District Director for 30 years. Below is a link to the video and a transcript of his remarks:
Click here to watch the video.
“Madam Speaker, all of us who serve in this House are deeply indebted to our hardworking staff who enable to serve our constituents and meet the rigorous demands of this job. In particular, all of us are grateful for our District Directors, as we are for all of our staff. But our District Directors are us for so many instances, for so many constituents, and so many different events. They represent us when we cannot be here when we are in Washington. They are our eyes and ears on the ground when we are here. They are the angels on our shoulders who remind us that everything we do on a national level needs to benefit our constituents back home.
“For the past 30 years, I have been blessed, the Fifth Congressional District has been blessed to be a colleague of Betsy Bossart. I love Betsy Bossart, and my constituents love Betsy Bossart.
“Before she served as my District Director, she was my Administrative Assistant, a jack of all trades who made sure my office ran smoothly and served as one of my chief advisers. Betsy joined my staff on March 3, 1989, 30 years ago. And until she retired, sadly from my perspective, last month, she served me, the people of the Fifth District, and our country every day. With her departure, my office, and indeed this House, is diminished by the end of her extraordinary service.
“Betsy gave her time and energy selflessly to the people of the Fifth district, working many, many late nights, many weekends, and long days. She has taken meetings with every organization and visited every nearly every school and medical facility and government office in the counties I represent.
“Betsy Bossart has been so successful as my District Director because she is an excellent listener and has a deep well spring of empathy for people. She has been a role model for others on my staff, and a champion and advocate for young people coming into public service and waiting to make differences in their communities and in their country.
“She has been an unsung hero of my team for three decades. It is largely because of Betsy’s hard work behind the scenes that we are able to organize the rebuilding together program, formerly known Christmas in April, in all five counties in our District. It’s a day of service that brings people of all works of life together to repair hopes, revitalize communities, and help our neighbors.
“Because of Betsy’s efforts, we have the annual Fifth District Women's Luncheon, dedicated to advancing women’s equality and raising awareness of women leaders in the Fifth District and our country. Because of her, we have a robust support for the network of early childhood centers in Maryland named in memory of my wife Judy, who had a wonderful relationship with Betsy as well. Maryland’s Judy Centers will always be a major part of Betsy’s legacy, and the thousands of children and families who benefited may not know Betsy or what she did to make the Judy Centers possible, but they will always owe her and her colleagues who partnered with her on that effort, a debt of gratitude.
“Along with her friend and my friend, Betty Richardson – another longtime member of my team who has since retired but remains very active in our District – Betty and Betsy were also instrumental in launching the annual Fifth District Black History Breakfast, now in its 38th year. All of the young people who participate in the Greater Washington Soap Box Derby have Betsy to thank for being able to use the Capitol grounds.
“Madam Speaker, I will look back with many, many, many fond memories of my time working with Betsy Bossart, my friend, my colleague, my co-worker who I had the opportunity to work with to advance the interests of our District.
“We traveled together to South Africa and met with Nelson Mandela, discussing the important issue of racial justice and unity through history and healing. We have attended so many events together across Prince George’s County and Southern Maryland, making sure that every one of our constituents voices is heard loudly and clearly in Congress.
“As Majority Leader and Democratic Whip over the past 16 years, I’ve had to balance service to our District with responsibilities to our Caucus and to our country. Betsy has spent every single day of that time making sure that our District always comes first.
“I will miss Betsy. I expect to remain friends with her throughout my life, but I will miss her daily advice and expertise, though I am relieved that she will always be just a phone call away.
“As she retires, Madam Speaker, to spend more time with her husband and their family in Pennsylvania, I hope my colleagues will join me in thanking Betsy Bossart for 30 dedicated years, yes to me, but more importantly to our constituents, to our state, and to our country.
“Madam Speaker, were I to speak another two hours as some fear, I could not thank Betsy Bossart enough. God bless Betsy Bossart, a wonderful friend, a wonderful American.”