Congresswoman Terri Sewell
Harold C. Keller Public Service Leadership Award: 2017
Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell is in her fifth term representing Alabama’s 7th Congressional District. She is one of the first women elected to Congress from Alabama in her own right and is the first black woman to ever serve in the Alabama Congressional delegation.
Congresswoman Sewell sits on the exclusive House Ways and Means Committee and brings to the committee her more than 15 years of experience as a securities and public finance attorney. Currently, in the 116th Congress, she serves as Vice-Chair of the House Ways & Means Committee where she sits on three subcommittees: the Subcommittee on Health; the Subcommittee on Trade; and the Subcommittee on Worker and Family Support.
Congresswoman Sewell was also selected to serve on the distinguished House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence charged with the oversight of our national security. She is currently the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Defense Intelligence and Warfighter Support, charged with the oversight of collection and timely dissemination of Department of Defense intelligence with respect to support of all military operations.
In her short time in Congress, Sewell has held several leadership positions including Freshman Class President in the 112th Congress. In the 116th Congress, she was selected by the Democratic Whip James Clyburn to serve as a Chief Deputy Whip, and sits on the prestigious Steering and Policy Committee, which sets the policy direction of the Democratic Caucus.
Congresswoman Sewell is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus where she is Co-Chair of the Voting Rights Task Force. She is a Vice Chair of the New Democrat Coalition; Co-Chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus; Vice-Chair of the Congressional HBCU Caucus; and Co-Chair of the Rural Caucus.
Congresswoman Sewell is an outspoken advocate for jobs creation, workforce development, skills training and for providing resources and economic opportunities for her constituents in the 7th Congressional District. In addition to pursuing job-creating legislation in Congress, Sewell has implemented a results-driven approach to addressing the unemployment crisis by hosting an Annual Job Fair and job readiness workshops across the district as a part of a workforce initiative called Project R.E.A.D.Y.--- Realizing Everyone’s Ability to Develop Yourself.
As the Member of Congress representing Alabama’s civil rights district, Congresswoman Sewell has been a passionate champion for recognizing and honoring the sacrifices of those freedom fighters who served as powerful agents of change. Congresswoman Sewell was honored that her first piece of successful legislation recognized the “Four Little Girls” who tragically lost their lives during the bombing of the16th Street Baptist Church in 1963. The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor Congress can bestow. The bill passed unanimously in both houses of Congress and was signed into law by President Barack Obama on May 24, 2013 in a signing ceremony in the Oval Office to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the church bombing.
In March of 2015, Congresswoman Sewell welcomed the world to her hometown of Selma during the 50th Anniversary of the March from Selma to Montgomery including President and Mrs. Obama; President and Mrs. George W. Bush and more than 100 members of Congress. Sewell’s second Congressional Gold Medal bill to honor the Foot Soldiers of the Voting Rights Movement was signed by President Obama on March 7, 2015, the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday.
Prior to her election in 2010, Congresswoman Sewell was the first black woman partner in the Birmingham law office of Maynard, Cooper & Gale, P.C., where she distinguished herself as one of the only black public finance lawyers in the State of Alabama. A proud product of Alabama’s rural Black Belt, Congresswoman Sewell was the first black valedictorian of Selma High School. She is an honors graduate of Princeton University and Oxford University and received her law degree from Harvard Law School.
Congresswoman Sewell is a Silver Star and life member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She is the daughter of the late Coach Andrew A. Sewell of Selma, AL and retired librarian Nancy Gardner Sewell, Selma’s first black City Councilwoman, the 18th South Eastern Regional Director and former Supreme Grammateus of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.