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