Saluting Edward McGaffigan

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My old Senate staff colleague, Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner Ed McGaffigan, died Sunday.
McGaffigan, who was fighting melanoma, was a tenacious truth-teller in his public service work — and an incredible father, from what I saw at a distance. His wife, who died in 2000, had been ill for a very long time, and McGaffigan managed her situation, his own health problems, and a high intensity work load while somehow always having time set aside for his children.
I saw this when I worked as Senator Jeff Bingaman‘s foreign policy and economic advisor — and Ed handled much of the defense/energy/armed services portfolio in the office. He was sometimes rough-edged but told it straight, and just melted when the subject of his children came up.
Much of the media mentions that he was a Democrat — which he certainly was. But he was an example of a public servant that you simply could not guess his party affiliation in the content of his work or in his professional conduct. He influenced me significantly, particularly in the importance of thinking more creatively and outmaneuvering one’s opposition in the substance of an argument.
Americans have lost an incredible person and resource — and it’s not surprising to me that Ed was still voting on matters at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission all the way up through last week.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

6 comments on “Saluting Edward McGaffigan

  1. Richard Giragosian says:

    After reading the heartfelt tributes to Ed McGaffigan, I feel compelled to add a small tribute. I had the honor of working with Ed in the early 1990s, when I was with the Joint Economic Committee. And as Steve has articulated so well, Ed embodied the best of what it means to engage in public service. In this way, his sad passing leaves us with his own personal legacy….a legacy of dedication, professionalism and true patriotism much larger than mere partisan agendas or personal ambitions. And just as he has so ably done during his life, he has also set an example for others entering or engaged in public service today.

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  2. Richard Giragosian says:

    After reading the heartfelt tributes to Ed McGaffigan, I feel compelled to add a small tribute. I had the honor of working with Ed in the early 1990s, when I was with the Joint Economic Committee. And as Steve has articulated so well, Ed embodied the best of what it means to engage in public service. In this way, his sad passing leaves us with his own personal legacy….a legacy of dedication, professionalism and true patriotism much larger than mere partisan agendas or personal ambitions. And just as he has so ably done during his life, he has also set an example for others entering or engaged in public service today.

    Reply

  3. Richard Giragosian says:

    Upon reading the heartfelt notes mourning the loss of Ed McGaffigan, I am also moved to add my praise. I had the pleasure of working with Ed when I was with the Joint Economic Committee, during which time, as Steve has well articulated, Ed embodied the best of what public service means to the country. He will be not only missed as a person, but as a symbol and role model for all those entering or currently engaged in public service. In this way, he leaves us all with his own legacy, something we can all cherish long after his sad passing.

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  4. Mark H. Crawford says:

    Ed McGaffigan was a great man, a patriot, and a person who had a very strong sense of right and wrong. As a public servant, he was dedicated to doing the very best for the United States. He loved his country and thought deeply about the problems it would face in the 21st century. The pursuit of truth and beauty was his priority, not party nor personal gain, in trying to influence and shape public policy. I was fortunate to know him when I was a reporter and will alway remember the patience he showed in helping me understand all dimensions of an issue. We need more Ed McGaffigans in the executive branch and legislative offices — people of high integrity, intelligence, and a strong work ethic.

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  5. Mark H. Crawford says:

    Ed McGaffigan was a great man, a patriot, and a person who had a very strong sense of right and wrong. As a public servant, he was dedicated to doing the very best for the United States. He loved his country and thought deeply about the problems it would face in the 21st century. The pursuit of truth and beauty was his priority, not party nor personal gain, in trying to influence and shape public policy. I was fortunate to know him when I was a reporter and will alway remember the patience he showed in helping me understand all dimensions of an issue. We need more Ed McGaffigans in the executive branch and legislative offices — people of high integrity, intelligence, and a strong work ethic.

    Reply

  6. Ken Jarboe says:

    As another former Bingaman staffer who worked with Ed, let me second Steve’s tribute. I worked with Ed during the competitiveness debates of the 1980’s, including the creation of Sematech and many of the DoD technology programs. While much has been said about Ed’s work in the NRC, his time on Senate staff was extremely productive and of great benefit to the nation, even while he was living out is own personal tragedy of Peg’s illness. He was an exemplary public servant and will be missed.

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