4-term Alexandria Councilman Believed to be Oldest Elected Official in U.S
The year 1922 saw the formation of the Soviet Union, the debut of Reader’s Digest magazine and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial, the start of the Wimbledon tennis championship and the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb. It is also the year Alexandria City Councilman Harry B. Silver was born on January 19 in East Orange, New Jersey.
Following a meeting of the Alexandria City Council in January, Alexandria Mayor Jeff Hall asked for a moment to make a special presentation honoring Silver for his 99th birthday. Hall’s proclamation read, “On behalf of the City of Alexandria, Mayor Jeffrey W. Hall hereby extends heartiest congratulations and commendation to Harry B. Silver, Councilman, District 4, in honor of your 99th Birthday Celebration.”
As Hall finished, the Councilmen and those in attendance at the meeting burst into applause for the four-term councilman. Silver received the accolades via telephone. Due to concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Silver has been participating in council meetings via telephone since July of 2020. “I’m glad you remembered me,” Silver quipped when the applause died down. “We’ll remember you even better if you send us some cake for the next meeting,” responded Council President Jim Villard, to which Silver replied “you got it.”
Silver joined the Alexandria City Council in 2005 at the age of 83 when he was appointed to fill the unexpired term of former Councilman Rick Ranson. He was elected to a full term in 2006 and was re-elected in 2010, 2014 and 2018. He was unopposed in the 2018 race.
At the age of 99, Silver is believed to be the oldest active elected official in the U.S. He is also believed to be the oldest elected official to serve in the State of Louisiana. A.R. “Red” Sims, who served for eight terms on the Ouachita Parish School Board from 1986-2018, was 98 when he chose not to seek re-election.
“I’m proud to be recognized as the oldest person serving,” Silver said. “I’m privileged to be part of a group working to move the city forward and I look forward to continuing to serve.” Silver noted he especially appreciates the mutual cooperation between the Mayor and the City Council and stressed the importance of keeping lines of communication open between all parties. “Communication is the byword to success to any person, to any business or any country.”
Silver first visited Alexandria in 1944 when he was stationed with the military at Esler Field. During that time, he met the woman who would become his wife, Marilyn Levy. At the conclusion of his military duty, Marilyn’s father, Louis Levy, offered Silver a job in his department store, Weiss & Goldring. Silver accepted the job and Marilyn accepted Silver’s marriage proposal. The couple wed in 1948. Silver remained with Weiss & Goldring for the rest of his career and is still involved in operations of the store along with his son Ted Silver.
“Throughout his time in Alexandria, Harry Silver has been an active leader in working to make Alexandria a better place to live,” Hall said. “We are fortunate to have someone with his knowledge, experience and passion for his community. He is a great example of someone with a lifelong commitment to public service, and I am honored to be able to have the chance to work with him as part of the City’s leadership team.”