HONORING DENISE M. FORTE ON HER RETIREMENT FROM THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

November 6, 2017
Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise to thank and pay tribute to Denise Forte, who is my staff director on the Committee on Education and the Workforce. After a remarkable 20 plus year career in federal service, today is Denise's last day with us.

Denise first came to Capitol Hill as a Women's Research and Education Institute fellow in my personal office in 1994. While she received her degree in computer science from Duke University, Denise's fellowship on Capitol Hill made her realize her true professional calling--helping ensure America's children have equality access to a quality education. I recognized her talent and; at the conclusion of her fellowship, hired her as a full-time employee where she excelled at several positions, including as my legislative director.

Her passion and talent eventually caught the attention of Congressman George Miller, the former Ranking Member and Chairman of the Education and the Workforce Committee. Denise seized an opportunity to join the Committee in 2001, where she served in successively senior roles, eventually becoming Congressman Miller's director of education policy. During her initial service with the Committee, Denise played integral roles in major reforms, including the No Child Left Behind Act, the College Cost Reduction Act, Child Nutrition Reauthorization, reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention Act, and the Student Aid and Responsibility Act, amongst others.

Denise left the Committee in early 2011 to join the Obama Administration at the Department of Education's Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development as a deputy assistant secretary. In that capacity, she provided strategic advice and counsel to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Denise also directed and managed several policy portfolios, including overseeing budget, higher education, and early education policy development.

In late 2014, my colleagues in the House Democratic Caucus elected me to succeed George Miller as Ranking Member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce. I immediately knew who I wanted to help me assemble a staff and lead my team--Denise Forte. As my colleagues know, Denise is well-regarded and respected by Members and staff on both sides of the aisle. She is known to care deeply and fight vigorously for what she believes in, but Denise always remains focused on achieving what's possible. She understands the importance of building bridges and working to identify policy areas on which Committee Democrats and Republicans can agree.

The best example of that is the most recent reauthorization of our nation's landmark education law, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Despite an increasingly polarized environment, Denise believed in the possible and led my team to realize a full rewrite of the law in the Every Student Succeeds Act, which was enacted last Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support. Denise led our team's effort and helped us accomplish something that hadn't been done in nearly 15 years.

Denise Forte built her career in public service on getting results, making meaningful progress for America's students and working families, and helping this institution function effectively. She cares deeply about Congress and our Committee's mission, and she will be greatly missed. I wish her well as she gets to spend a little extra time with her husband, Kyo, and her beloved sons, Gabe and Johnny, before she starts her next adventure at the Century Foundation.

Mr. Speaker, I speak for my staff, Chairwoman VIRGINIA FOXX, and all the members of the Committee on Education and the Workforce in thanking Denise Forte for her more than two decades of honorable service to this institution and the American people.