Senate leaders used opening remarks on the floor Wednesday to honor Ed Pesce, the longtime director of the Senate Periodical Press Gallery, calling him a fixture behind the office’s signature saloon doors.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., commended Pesce’s work, along with gallery staff, who act as nonpartisan liaisons coordinating communication between congressional staff and media outlets across several countries.
“Their fingerprints can be found on nearly every part of the Senate’s business,” Reid said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., got a little more personal – calling Pesce out for his constant exercise and dedication to certain films.
“You might see Ed queuing for the premier of a 'Star Wars' sequel, maybe even a prequel,” McConnell said.
McConnell called Pesce a fixture in the chamber with coworkers recalling “his infectious laughter and dedication to team building.”
Pesce, joined by his colleagues and reporters, sat in the gallery of the chamber as the leaders made their remarks.
“Fiction is one of his favorite genres,” McConnell said, at times looking up at Pesce. “History is the other. He certainly witnessed plenty of it firsthand.”
Pesce said McConnell was right to point to his relentless exercise – and said he was humbled and honored leaders took the time to express such personal appreciation for staff on the Senate floor.
Pesce, whose last day was also Wednesday, started working on Capitol Hill shortly after he graduated college in 1990. He became deputy director of the Senate Periodical Press Gallery in 1996. In December, Pesce announced he would retire from the position he has held since 2000.
He didn’t give details on his future employment plans but said it will probably be in communications or writing. In the meantime, he’s been traveling and enjoying time off. He recently enjoyed a rarity for anyone working in government and the press – having days off on both Christmas and New Year’s.
Reflecting on his 25 years working on Capitol Hill – including 11 sergeant-at-arms and a 50-50 split in Senate leadership – Pesce said his work has not always been easy, but that it was professionally rewarding to be a go-to person who worked with every staffer and reporter, no matter their allegiances.
“That’s a unique aspect,” Pesce said.
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