Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor a remarkable woman, Mrs. Willie B. Kennedy, who has served with distinction on the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) Board of Directors since 1996. Mrs. Kennedy is retiring from the BART Board effective January 31, 2003. Thankfully, Mrs. Kennedy is not leaving public service entirely, after working for over 60 years as a political and social activist and elected official in the San Francisco Bay Area. She will continue her work in the Hunters Point neighborhood with the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, which oversees development there.
Mrs. Kennedy is an outspoken advocate for public transit and transit-oriented development. During her six years as a BART director, she was chosen by her colleagues to serve as president in 2001 and vice president in 2000. Mrs. Kennedy pushed BART to begin a tradition of donating special ``flash passes'' to community organizations for train rides to and from San Francisco's annual Martin Luther King, Jr. parade and memorial ceremonies. She works diligently behind the scenes to respond to her constituents' concerns about BART service and facilities. She has been a long-time supporter of the new BART extension to the San Francisco International Airport.
As a BART board member, Mrs. Kennedy served as vice chairperson of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission Liaison Committee. She was a member of the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Board, the San Francisco Transportation Authority Liaison Committee, the San Mateo County Negotiation/SFO Extension Committee, and the Santa Clara County Policy Committee.
In addition to her years of service to BART, Mrs. Kennedy is a former Supervisor of the City and County of San Francisco. She was appointed to the Board of Supervisors in March 1981 by former Mayor and now U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. She completed the unexpired term of the late Supervisor Ella Hill Hutch, was elected in her own right in 1984, 1988 and 1992, and served until May 1996. She has served as the President of the San Francisco Transportation Authority and on the boards of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), the California and National Associations of Counties, and the California and National Leagues of Cities.
Willie Kennedy received her early education in Dallas, Texas and was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from San Francisco State University. She is the widow of the late Superior Court Judge Joseph G. Kennedy, mother of one daughter and two foster daughters, grandmother of nine, great grandmother of 20 and great-great grandmother of one.
During her many years as a civic leader, Willie B. Kennedy has earned the respect of all who have worked with her. I commend her for her many years of dedicated public service and wish her the best of luck in the future.
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