Wilma Simms, the front desk receptionist at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee whose upbeat and energetic personality welcomed those who visited the organization’s headquarters for 13 years, died Saturday after a long illness. She was 71.
Simms, who retired in October, was revered for her welcoming smile and kind comments as she greeted visitors to the DCCC’s offices just outside the Capitol complex.
Members of Democratic leadership mourned Simms’ death and praised both her loyalty to the DCCC and its mission, as well as her ability to make everyone feel welcome.
“For nearly 13 years, Ms. Wilma was the face of the DCCC and she loyally and steadfastly helped our caucus and our case,” DCCC Chairman Steve Israel, D-N.Y., said in a statement. “She meant so much more to the many of us who grew to know her. Every day she brought her warmth and personality to everyone from Democratic leadership to the DCCC intern.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Simms’ smile touched the lives of everyone who passed through the DCCC’s doors — “members of Congress, candidates, staffers, interns and complete strangers.”
“Ms. Wilma did her job with warmth, grace, and enthusiasm,” Pelosi said in a statement.
She called Simms a “cherished member of the extended family of the DCCC and the House Democratic Caucus. Her presence, passion, energy, and kindness will be sorely missed by all who had the privilege of knowing her.”
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.