IN RECOGNITION OF JOANNE HAYES-WHITE; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 73
(Extensions of Remarks - May 03, 2019)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E537]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                           HON. JACKIE SPEIER

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                          Friday, May 3, 2019

  Ms. SPEIER. Madam Speaker, I rise to honor Joanne Hayes-White as she 
responds to her final call as Chief of the San Francisco Fire 
Department. Chief Hayes-White will be retiring after 29 years with the 
department. Hers is a long and storied career that spans the 
transformation of the department from an all-male bastion to a modern 
department in which merit is measured by your capacity to save lives 
and property through working as part of a team, and celebrating the 
differences that make this nation great.
  Joanne Hayes-White was born in San Francisco. She graduated from the 
University of Santa Clara with a degree in business and immediately 
applied to the San Francisco Fire Department. She was hired in April of 
1990. She climbed the career ladder almost as quickly as the ladder on 
a truck. In 1993 she was promoted to Lieutenant and in 1996 to Captain. 
Also in 1996, she was assigned as the Acting Battalion Chief with 
oversight of the department's dispatch and communications systems. The 
department selected Battalion Chief Hayes-White to oversee the 
installation of the Computer-Aided Dispatch system (CAD) and the 
Automated Information System (AIS). Along the way, Chief Hayes-White 
combined the communications functions of police, fire, and emergency 
response, improving response times and inter-agency communications.
  Firefighters live and die based in part on their training. As 
Director of Training, Joanne Hayes-White developed the Battalion-Based 
In Service Training Program which almost tripled the number of formal 
training hours for all members of the department, with almost no fiscal 
impact. As Chief, she has implemented random on-duty alcohol and drug 
testing, reconfigured emergency medical services, and restored 
promotional exams, all steps that have increased accountability within 
the department.
  The fire department is noticeable in the community through the 
training of civilians and even school children. Ninth graders in San 
Francisco learn CPR. The department is committed to reducing pedestrian 
deaths and works to right-size equipment to San Francisco's streets.
  In April of 2010, the Chief was offered a fellowship to attend the 
Harvard Kennedy School Senior Executives in State and Local Government 
Program. It was an investment in excellence, as evidence a few years 
later. In August 2018, Chief Hayes-White was named as the 2018 Career 
Fire Chief of the Year by the International Association of Fire Chiefs.
  San Francisco is a complex city to protect. The department's 
personnel are famous for valor and for protecting the forty-nine square 
miles of dense community that constitutes the city. The fire department 
goes beyond fighting fires and preventing death and injury due to 
medical emergencies. Under Chief Hayes-White's leadership, the 
department was a leader in environmental and sustainability 
initiatives, such as transitioning the fleet to renewable diesel, 
composting and recycling.
  It has been a privilege to work with Joanne Hayes-White during my 
time in the State Legislature and in Congress and to call her a dear 
friend. She is an inspiration to girls and young women throughout San 
Francisco. She has attended multiple of my When I Grow Up events and 
spoke before 600 girls and family members at Grenentech. During her 
remarks, she noted that it was not easy to make her way in the 1990's-
era department. The department only began hiring women in 1987. As of 
2017, 30 years later, 15% of firefighters were women. Yet the 
department is also a close-knit community. Even as Chief, she knows 
every firefighter by name.
  As a human being, Joanne Hayes-White excels. Her ready smile, respect 
for traditions that strengthen the department, and love of community 
are second to none. She is a native of San Francisco's winding streets, 
fog-shrouded hills and beautiful beaches. She has managed the 
department when its budget was cut and fought hard to get positions and 
capabilities restored as the economy recovered. We are all safer 
because Chief Hayes-White assumed the helm of the San Francisco Fire 
  Now, it's time for Joanne to take time to smell the roses. She will 
see more of her sons Riley, age 25, Logan, age 21, and Sean, age 19. 
They grew up with the department with her, and now they get to reclaim 
some of the time she offered to the city by the bay.
  For those of us who have lived in and grown up around San Francisco, 
there are two bells that immediately trigger an image of the city that 
we love: Cable car bells and the bell at the fire house as another 
rescue commences. San Franciscans are proud of both. For 29 years, 
they've had Chief Hayes-White to respond to the fire house bell. 
Slainte mhaith, Chief Hayes-White. We are all deeply grateful for a job 
so well done.