Ted Kaufman - United States Senator for Delaware

On Senate Floor, Sen. Kaufman Recognizes Great Federal Employee, Anne Gallagher

January 28, 2010

   Mr. KAUFMAN. Madam President, I rise today to recognize another great Federal employee. In the past year we have witnessed the most significant economic downturn since the Great Depression. In the 1930s, millions of Americans lost everything and there was no social safety net to catch those in the greatest need. Today we are fortunate that the Federal Government coordinates vital programs, preventing millions of Americans from slipping into the kind of poverty experienced in those days.

   I think probably the most important agency involved in this effort is the Social Security Administration. Its mission is to provide a stable income for retired American workers and those who cannot work because of a disability.

   In the words of the great revolutionary patriot Thomas Paine, ``it is not charity but a right, not bounty but justice.''

   He wrote those words in 1797, when he published an early proposal for social security. It was only in the midst of the Great Depression that such a system was finally established by the Social Security Act of 1935.

   Seventy-five years later, the SSA's important work continues. One of the great Social Security employees is Anne Gallagher, who has made a career of Federal Government work.

   Anne, who grew up in Wilmington, DE and still lives there, has worked for Social Security for 8 years. As a child, Anne attended the Wilmington Friends School, and she later received her undergraduate degree from Mary Baldwin College. After pursuing further study in New York, she worked for 2 years in the broadcasting industry.

   In 1976, Anne began a lifetime of public service, working for then-Senator Bill Roth, who was then the senior Senator of Delaware, in his Wilmington office. Her role as senior caseworker for constituent services was to intercede on behalf of Delawareans with Federal agencies.

   If you were a veteran who needed help accessing VA resources or benefits, Anne was the staff member in Senator Roth's office who would contact the VA for you. If you were trying to adopt a child from overseas but had an issue with the State Department that needed clearing up, Anne would clear it up.

   It was during this time, when I was chief of staff to Delaware's junior Senator Joe Biden, that I first met Anne and witnessed firsthand her unmatched dedication and positive attitude. Joe Biden has wonderful caseworkers. They all thought very highly of Anne. And the two offices worked together seamlessly to serve the people of Delaware.

   Anne handled important casework for Senator Roth for 7 years before deciding to take time off to raise her two daughters, who, by the way, both share their mother's passion for serving the public. But the call to serve was strong, and after 3 years away from Senator Roth's office, Anne returned. She continued working as an advocate for Delawareans until Senator Roth left office in 2001. At the same time, she still served as the legislative assistant for veterans affairs from 1994 to 1997.

   In 2001, Anne spent several months working as the director of a nonprofit helping American families adopt children from overseas.

   In 2002, she returned to government service when she became a Regional Public Affairs Specialist for the Social Security Administration. In this role, Anne serves as the Social Security congressional liaison for five States and the District of Columbia, which include 10 Senate offices and 43 House districts. The reports issued by her office help Members of Congress as well as other Federal, State, and local officials understand the status of Social Security distribution in their jurisdictions.

   Throughout her work in Social Security and Senator Roth's office, Anne has earned a reputation for thoroughness, dedication, and a kind heart. I never met anyone who has dealt with Anne who did not like her, was not impressed with her kindness, her intelligence, and her ability to get things done. Once, while working for Senator Roth, Anne received a call from an elderly woman who had been in touch with her regarding a casework issue. It was in the midst of a snowstorm, and the woman, who lived alone, could not get to the grocery store for herself. So 45 minutes later Anne and her husband pulled up to the woman's house with a carful of groceries. Many of those she helped still keep in touch with her, even after 20 years.

   I hope my colleagues will join me in honoring Anne Gallagher and thanking her for her service to the Nation and the State of Delaware. I also hope all Americans will recognize the important contribution made by all who work for the Social Security Administration and all those who work for the Federal Government.

   I yield the floor.

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