May 2, 2017
Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a remarkable woman who has dedicated the last 40 years of her life to serving the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia--my friend, closest adviser, and chief of staff, Joni Ivey.

   Joni was born and raised in Newport News, Virginia. She grew up in Newsome Park and was one of seven children of Willie and Carnetta Ivey. She graduated from Carver High School in 1971, the last graduating class of the segregated high school that was closed when local schools were racially integrated. Joni went on to attend Christopher Newport University and graduated from Norfolk State University.

   I first met Joni in 1976, when she was working on Reverend Henry Maxwell's unsuccessful campaign for the Newport News City Council. I was impressed with her work ethic, her dedication to her community, and her political acumen. I was so impressed that I asked her to serve on my first campaign for the House of Delegates in 1977. That started a 40-year friendship and working relationship that took us to the House of Delegates after that election to the Virginia Senate in 1983, and ultimately to the United States Congress in 1993.

   Joni has served alongside me every step of the way and has been a selfless, behind-the-scenes public servant for the citizens of Virginia. Serving the public and helping those most in need has always driven her. Her passion in this regard has helped ground me and our staff to focus on what we can do every day we are fortunate enough to be in a position to make better the lives of those we serve.

   Joni's commitment to this ideal is not just at work. Joni spends nearly every waking moment of her free time outside of the office helping others, either through her involvement in her church, Ivy Baptist Church in Newport News, or work with the local NAACP where she once served as branch president, by tutoring young people in Newport News, working with the local food bank, or through her service in The Links, Incorporated. Joni has always given back to her community.

   Even with all that she does in her community, she always has time for her family. She is a proud aunt to her nieces and nephews, a dedicated daughter to her mother, and a caring sister to her siblings.

   Over the last 40 years, she has also mentored hundreds of members of our staff and helped guide them in their careers. Thanks in part to her leadership with my office, a vast majority of our current and former permanent staff members got their start in our office as interns or fellows and grew into talented and instrumental staffers. Joni showed them how they could make a real difference working in government. Her dedication to our staff has helped make me a more effective legislator, and I am forever grateful for that.

   Mr. Speaker, Joni Laverne Ivey retires from her service to the United States House of Representatives and to my office this week. This will be a hard-earned and well-deserved retirement, and I know that she will remain as active in Newport News and around Hampton Roads as she is now, but perhaps a little less restrained now that she no longer has to worry about me or our office.

   I know Joni has never sought public recognition for her hard work, but on behalf of our entire current and former staff and the citizens of the Third Congressional District of Virginia, I thank her for her dedicated and selfless service to our community, our Commonwealth, and our Nation.