Recognizing the Thirty-Six Year Public Service Career of Alexandria Councilwoman Del Pepper

Floor Speech

Date: May 27, 2022
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CONNOLLY. Madam Speaker, I rise today to recognize Ms. Redella S. Pepper, the recently retired Councilwoman from Alexandria, Virginia, for her thirty-six years of dedicated public service.

Ms. Pepper, known to many as Del, won her first election to Alexandria's city council in 1985 after serving as an aide to Mayor Charles Beatley. Once she ran for and won her seat on the council, she treated her office as a full-time job. As other council members have served diligently while maintaining other commitments, Del Pepper's sole priority has been bettering her community for nearly four decades. She was on the council longer than any other incumbent and served as Alexandria's vice mayor from 1996 to 1997 and from 2003 to 2009.

Even before her involvement in Alexandria, Del Pepper found herself fighting for others. She worked on her father's city council campaign growing up in Omaha, Nebraska. In the 1960s, Ms. Pepper managed a regional headquarters during President Lyndon Johnson's campaign. This would be impressive today, but Del did it in a time when women rarely took on such prominent roles in politics. She moved to Alexandria in 1968 and hit the ground running with her desire to serve.

Del Pepper has been an outspoken advocate for compassion, and the residents of Alexandria recognize that. She has remained a voice for the West End, ensuring that her part of town has had representation in the council all along the way. Ms. Pepper has advocated for seniors, too, making Alexandria a more accessible place to live.

The residents of Alexandria have elected Del Pepper with more votes than any of the other at large councilmembers three times, leading to her recognition as vice mayor. She has voted in the best interests of her community, fighting for the environment by shutting down a coal plant and leading the charge to make Alexandria an Eco-City in 2008. Del even served on the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments' Air Quality Committee and Board of Directors.

Del Pepper also served beyond her City Council seat by working on Alexandria's Commission on Aging, ensuring that senior citizens have access to the resources needed to live full and independent lives. Additionally, she worked on the Facilities Naming Committee, where she ensured that our landmarks would honor those who deserved the praise. Del also worked with the Commission on Information Technology to keep her community secure and equipped to meet her constituents' needs.

Personally, I was honored to work with Del on the Council of Governments, where she led as the board's president. Del has done the hard and thankless work that very few people often recognize. But the entire Washington metropolitan area is better off because of the tireless service she put in.

Ms. Pepper is a pillar of the Alexandria community, unafraid to speak her mind and vote with her conscience. She has been a comfort to her constituents and ensured that their voices were heard by the whole of Alexandria's city council. She has served her community since before some of her colleagues were even born. Del Pepper's dedication is unmatched, and I am proud to offer my congratulations to a treasured friend and colleague on a full, fearless, and caring career in service to the public.

Madam Speaker, I ask that my colleagues join me in commending Ms. Del Pepper on her thirty-six years on the Alexandria city council. Ms. Pepper has set an example that all of us would do well to follow in fighting for what she believes, in giving a voice to her constituents in the decisions that affect them, and in being a resource to her community. She is a unique and invaluable member of her community, and I am proud that I have had the opportunity to get to know her, may we all strive to be more like her in our own service.

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