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Occurrences in the Congressional Record

Entry Title Date
Fast Track And Marriage Equality April 23, 2015
Mark Takano, D-CA
"Now the Supreme Court can correct this injustice next week, as it is set to hear oral arguments in a case that could make marriage equality the law of the land. Now, I have never been one to count my chickens before they hatch, but I believe that the Supreme Court will rule on the right side of history."
In Honor Of Crystal Bertheau April 23, 2015
Sam Farr, D-CA
"Mr. Speaker, I rise to bring to the House’s attention the outstanding public service work of Crystal Bertheau on the occasion of her retirement from the Santa Cruz County Elections Department following a long and distinguished career. In Ms. Bertheau’s professional career, she embodied the fundamental principal that should guide American democracy across our great nation: that every voter should have easy access to the ballot and that every vote cast should be counted. It is an example that stands as a beacon even now in the 21st Century. Crystal started her professional career in San Mateo County in 1972 where she and her co-workers created an annual program for Court Room Clerks at Stanford University. From 1981 to 1996, Crystal worked for Judge Clarence B. Knight. In 1996, Crystal transferred to the San Mateo County Elections Department. In 1997, she and her husband, David, moved to Scotts Valley, California. In 1998, the Santa Cruz County Elections Department hired her as the poll worker training and recruitment coordinator for the county. She was instrumental in launching and implementing the county Inspector Hotline, a dedicated phone number for poll workers to call in questions on Election Day. In 2002, she took on the duties of Program Coordinator in charge of candidate filing. Crystal quickly became known as the knowledgeable and friendly face who helped thousands of candidates navigate their way through the candidate filing process. Crystal also served as a Passport Acceptance Agent and a Deputy Commissioner for Civil Marriage for the County of Santa Cruz. She and her co-workers earned the 2013 Employee Recognition Gold Award for successfully facilitating the start of same sex marriages in Santa Cruz County. Crystal’s passion for elections and community service is unsurpassed. She has worked 20 hour Election Days, spent many weekends serving her community on Passport Saturdays and Weekend Voting, and conducted weddings near the midnight hour on Valentine’s Day. Crystal has enjoyed sailing in the San Francisco Bay, has run 2 half marathons and dozens of 10ks, has backpacked in the High Sierras, and enjoyed scuba diving in Cozumel, Bonaire, and the Monterey Bay. In retirement Crystal hopes to continue to enjoy her hobbies of golf, gardening, hiking, playing the piano, reading, and spending time with family and friends, especially her son Mark. Mr. Speaker, I know that I speak on behalf of the entire House in thanking Crystal for her 42 years of public service and outstanding leadership, showing one person can impact the lives of many. I wish her the very best in the next chapter of her life."
44Th Anniversary Of The Gay And Lesbian Activists Alliance Of Washington, Dc (Glaa) April 21, 2015
Eleanor Norton, D-DC
"Since its founding, in April 1971, GLAA has been a respected and tireless advocate for full and equal rights for the District of Columbia, and has been at the forefront of efforts to strengthen enforcement of the landmark D.C. Human Rights Act of 1977. One of GLAA’s most significant achievements, on which it worked with coalition partners, D.C. elected officials, and District residents, was enactment of the District of Columbia Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act, which permits same-sex couples to marry in the District."
Remembering Norman H. Bangerter April 21, 2015
Orrin Hatch, R-UT
"Although public service was important to Norm, his family was always paramount. In 1953, he married Colleen Monson, who was his loyal friend and constant companion through nearly 58 years of marriage until she passed away in 2011. Together they raised 7 children and were grandparents to 30 grandchildren and 31 great-grandchildren. In 2012, Norm married Judy Schiffman, who was a dear friend and support to Norm and his family. His daily life was always spent with family by his side. Family time was sacred and essential to Norm, and he firmly believed that family was the most important component of life."
Wishing Ssgt Howard Lee Payne A Happy 100Th Birthday April 21, 2015
Duncan Hunter, R-CA
"Mr. Speaker, in February, 1942, Howard Payne was a 27-year old employee of the Bank of Benton when he received his induction notice. He reported to the Scott Field, IL, Induction Center and was assigned an Army serial number. Payne completed his basic training at Camp McCoy, WI, the site of the Second Army Maneuvers where 65,000 Soldiers from seven states formed the largest troop concentration in the Midwest. Payne was sent to Fort Sheridan, IL and then to Camp Ellis near Macomb, IL where he was assigned to the 368th Engineer Battalion. In October 1943, Payne’s battalion was alerted that it would be shipping out from Camp Shanks, NY. Payne remembers leaving the New York Harbor and viewing the Statue of Liberty. “Our Captain told us to take a good look at the Statue because some of you will never see her again.” Payne recounts, “He was right. I saw an unbelievable loss of life. We did not outgun the German’s. We just outnumbered them.” Payne was with the first military convoy to travel overseas. Passage of the Atlantic Ocean was dangerous because the German’s controlled the air and sea with submarines below and with airplanes above. It took his ship 14 days to cross the Atlantic Ocean due to the strength of the enemy. “Our ship had to zigzag in the ocean to keep out of harm’s way.” Most American troop ships were accompanied by battleships. Payne’s ship landed in Bristol, England, amid a furious battle. German airplanes were strafing Bristol’s railroad tracks, city streets, and local citizens. To help ward off the low flying airplanes, the residents of Bristol had erected huge balloons to keep the planes from flying at a low altitude. “We were introduced to war shortly after we landed.” Members of the 368th were boarded on trains and transported to Liverpool, England. “We began building airports and housing for the troops,” noted Payne. While they were constructing airfields and barracks, the United States declared war on Germany. In May, 1944, the 368th were told that they would be a part of an invasion. “We loaded our ships with equipment and troops and waited. Multiple times we were told to “ship-out,” but on two occasions, we were ordered to “stand-down.” Weather played a role in the timeline for the invasion. “Finally, we got orders to ship out” Payne remembers. On June 6, 1944, U.S. Army Private Payne was in the second wave at Utah Beach in the Normandy Peninsula Invasion. Payne joined thousands of Americans in Operation Overlord. GIs from the 368th were transferred from ships to Landing Ships, Tanks (LST). The LSTs were filled with caterpillars, tractors, and heavy construction equipment. The weight of the equipment caused the LST to sit deep in the water. “Our LST hit the ocean’s floor early and we had to jump out and wade ashore.” Utah Beach was one of the five sectors of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France in the Normandy landings. The westernmost of the five landing beaches, Utah is on the Cotentin Peninsula. Amphibious landings at Utah were undertaken by U.S. Army troops, with sea transport and naval artillery support provided by the U.S. Navy, with elements from the British Royal Navy. The objective at Utah Beach was to secure a beachhead, the location of important port facilities at Cherbourg. The amphibious assault by the U.S. 4th Infantry Division and 70th Tank Battalion was supported by airborne landings of the 82nd and the 101st. Their mission was to seal off the Cotentin Peninsula to prevent the Germans from reinforcing Cherbourg. The Allies faced two battalions of the 919th Grenadier Regiment, part of the 709th Static Infantry Division. German fortifications were under the leadership of “The Desert Fox,” Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. Payne remembers that the beaches were strewed with men who were dead, dying and wounded. The Germans were high over the cliffs. The first goal was to get ashore and scale the cliffs. “When we got to the top of the cliffs, I thought the rough part was over, but I discovered the bad stuff was just beginning” Payne recalls. Members of the 386th immediately began clearing the area of obstacles and mines. Additional American reinforcements continued to arrive. At the close of D-Day, Allied forces had captured about half of the planned area. Contingents of German defenders remained, but the beachhead was secure. Payne’s unit pushed the Germans back to Le Mans, France. The 368th constructed a pontoon bridge to facilitate the European Theater of Operations and allowed Lieutenant Colonel Christian Clarke, Jr. to move his 358th Infantry, 90th Infantry Division across the river. Clarke proceeded on into Western France. Payne was with the forces that helped liberate Paris, fought the enemy to Luxemburg, and was caught in the Ardennes region of Wallonia in Belgium. It was the winter of 1944 when the Allied Forces had to defend the important harbor of Antwerp from the Germans in a 40-day surprise attack that came to be known as the “Battle of the Bulge.” Between December 16, 1944, and January 25, 1945, the U.S. forces fought back the German attack, and in doing so, incurred their highest casualties for any operation of the war. America’s fighting spirit prevailed and, late in January, the Allied forces scored a decisive victory over Germany. The Allied forces fought the enemy up the Ryan River and forced the German’s back to Berlin. Payne’s battalion was stopped from attacking Berlin due to terms of the Yalta Agreement. The United States and England capitulated to Russia, and agreed that the only invading forces would be the Red Army. “We had the fight and we had the spirit to battle the enemy all the way to Berlin, but Russian dictator Joseph Stalin had convinced the Allied forces to stop our progress.” On May 8, 1945, Payne was near Dusseldorf, Germany when the Allied forces announced Victory in Europe. The six-year-old War had concluded in Europe, but the Japanese were still fighting in the Pacific Theatre. Payne and others were told that GIs involved in the Normandy Invasion were exempt from the war in the Pacific. The Pacific conflict ended only after the August 6, 1945, detonation of the Atomic Bomb. President Harry S. Truman ordered the deployment of the new weapon that caused the Japanese to capitulate to Allied demands. Payne waited from June until November to be shipped back to the states. On Dec. 5, 1945, Payne was discharged from the U.S. Army with the rank of Staff Sergeant. Ten days after his discharge, he married Helene Takie in his hometown of Benton, IL. Their marriage lasted almost 65 years, until her passing in July, 2010. Payne returned to his position at the Bank of Benton and eventually became its president. He remains active as a community leader, a champion of education projects and a philanthropist. Mr. Speaker, today Payne will celebrate his 100th birthday at his rural Benton, Illinois, home. We extend our deepest appreciation to Howard Lee Payne for his service to his country, both in battle during WWII, and for his post-war contributions."

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