Jason Joyce, who was sitting behind me at the final Council session presided over by Mayor Dave, sent me a tweet as we listened to resolutions commending the six alders who were leaving the Council. "Are you waiting for what I'm waiting for," he asked. I knew that could only mean one thing: Ald. Thuy Pham-Remmele's departing remarks.
After the mayor read the customary resolution commending her for her service on the Council, the rambunctious West Sider came to the podium. By my count, she was the only of the six departing alders who did not thank one Council colleague during her remarks, although she did emphasize her gratitude for city staff. Instead, she said she was glad to leave the Council and would never look back.
"I never knew so many people who speak just to hear themselves talk," she said about no alder in particular. Later, she addressed Ald. Lauren Cnare in what seemed to be an accusatory tone, saying the incoming Council president had told her years ago that Thuy would get to eat lunch with the mayor if she supported Cnare for Council president (she ran before).
Later she told the mayor she had no use for the framed resolution presented to her, proudly invited her husband to the front, and announced that he was all the fulfillment she needed. "I have my life, I have my husband, and I am very happy to go home with him."
It was hard to determine whether Thuy's unconventional comments were the product of disdain or genuine gratitude. "Mr. Cieslewicz, if you're struggling to understand why your reign ended prematurely, I wish you well," she said to the now-former mayor.
Thuy also touched upon her life before Madison, including her journey to the Midwest from Vietnam, which took place 38 years ago, when she awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in the U.S. Although she mentioned that Paul Soglin was involved in protests against the war in her country, she said only that she was "not involved in those protests."
Nevertheless, she made clear her love for the city of Madison, joking that she left a "tropical paradise for this frigid place," but had extended her stay nearly four decades longer than she had planned.
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