TRIBUTE TO LORET MILLER RUPPE (Senate - September 05, 1996)

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TRIBUTE TO LORET MILLER RUPPE (Senate - September 05, 1996)

TRIBUTE TO LORET MILLER RUPPE (Senate - September 05, 1996)

[Page: S9962]

Mr. DODD. Mr. President, I rise to pay tribute to Loret Miller Ruppe, a woman of uncompromising dedication for peace at home and abroad, who died at the age of 60. In addition to her remarkable career as the Director of the Peace Corps from 1981 to 1989 and Ambassador to Norway from 1989 to 1993, Loret Miller Ruppe was a beloved wife to former Rep. Philip Ruppe (R-Mich), mother of five daughters, sister to six siblings, and grandmother of three.

Her accomplishments were vast and far reaching, her constitution strong, and her character was humble yet filled with passion. Her main passion was for peace. She struggled relentlessly to promote peace and justice throughout the developing world and here at home. In a speech celebrating the 35th Anniversary of the Peace Corps Mrs. Ruppe spoke about the future of the organization and its mission, `Peace, that beautiful five-letter word we all say we crave and pray for, is up for grabs in the '90's.' For her, peace was not simply the absence of war, but the absence of the conditions that bring on war such as hunger, disease, poverty, illiteracy, and despair. Mrs. Ruppe worked hard to protect the fragile state of peace in regions around the globe. She achieved this goal through supervising programs in more than 93 countries, serving as a role model to field volunteers, and strengthening the Peace Corps organization.

Mrs. Ruppe also fought battles at home. When President Reagan appointed her in 1981, the Peace Corps budget was rapidly declining and was less than that of the military marching bands. By the end of Mrs. Ruppe's tenure she had succeeded in increasing the agency's budget almost 50 percent. In addition to budgetary challenges, Mrs. Ruppe gave the agency a political facelift by projecting the agency as non-partisan, despite the fact that she herself was a political appointee, and increasing its viability on both national and local levels. As she noted `We took Peace Corps out of the pit of politics and made it non-partisan. It must always signify Americans pulling together for peace.' As a result of her efforts, Mrs. Ruppe was respected and admired by Democrats and Republicans alike. In terms of national visibility, she brought much needed congressional and executive level attention to the Peace Corps. Prior to her leadership the organization was nicknamed `the corpse' and many believed its end was near. Under her command however, the organization was revitalized and its future secured. On a local level, she worked hard to increase young Americans' interest in participating in the program. By 1989, she had raised the number of volunteers by 20 percent.

Mrs. Ruppe was also an initiator who maintained the simple motto `we can do it.' She founded three important programs which continue to thrive today: The African Food Initiative, Women in Development, and the Leadership for Peace Program. Additionally, she brought seven new countries to the Peace Corps program.

As the longest tenured director of the Peace Corps, Mrs. Ruppe contributed much indeed to the organization. It was through her vision, dedication, and leadership that the Peace Corps continues to play a vital role in American foreign aid efforts. Under Mrs. Ruppe's leadership the organization responded to new challenges, transformed itself, and now stands prepared to continue promoting peace in the next century. Mrs. Ruppe's absence will be felt throughout the world. I will especially miss her. To me Loret was more than a dedicated and gifted public servant--she was my friend. I know her husband Philip, her daughters Antoinette, Adele, Katherine, Mary, and Loret will miss her very much, and so will I.

Mr. President, I know that all of our colleagues join with me in extending our sincere condolences to her family members.


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