WASHINGTON – A bipartisan bill that would name a Virginia Beach post office in honor of Ryan “Keith” Cox was passed by a voice vote Wednesday.
The bill passed after a speech by Rep. Elaine Luria, Democrat who represents Virginia's 2nd congressional district, and Rep. Fred Keller, a Republican from Pennsylvania.
The post office is located at 2509 George Mason Drive. Virginia’s entire U.S. House delegation has cosponsored the bill. Congresswoman Luria introduced the bill on June 17.
“In our community’s darkest hour, Keith prioritized the safety of his colleagues over his own,” Congresswoman Luria said before the vote. “He was a true servant leader who made the ultimate sacrifice. This is our chance to tell Keith’s story, to showcase his heroism to our community, our Commonwealth, and our nation.”
Cox was one of the 12 individuals killed in the Virginia Beach mass shooting. He served Virginia Beach as an account clerk in the Department of Public Utilities for 12 years.
An active member of the Virginia Beach community, Cox sang in his church’s choir with a “golden voice.” His friends and his colleagues describe Cox as a selfless man who put the needs of others before his own.
This was exemplified when he laid down his life to guide his fellow coworkers to safety on May 31 in Building 2 of the Virginia Beach Municipal Center. After bringing his colleagues to safety, Cox courageously stood watch and refused to take refuge, stating: “I’ve got to see if anybody needs help.”
In the wake of the tragedy, Congresswoman Luria was approached by Virginia Beach Postmaster Joseph A. Croce Jr. with a request to honor Cox. Congresswoman Luria agreed, setting the legislative process in motion.
Congressman Bobby Scott, Congressman A. Donald McEachin, Congressman Rob Wittman, Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger, Congressman Denver Riggleman, Congressman Morgan Griffith, Congressman Don Beyer, Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton, Congressman Gerry Connolly and Congressman Ben Cline are original cosponsors of the bill.
In order to become law, the bill must now pass the Senate and be signed by President Trump. Virginia Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner have urged Senate committee leaders to take up the bill to expedite passage in that chamber.