Lee Fletcher Was His Own Force

Posted October 21, 2009 at 4:01pm

By all accounts, Dewey Lee Fletcher Jr. was a force to be reckoned with. A notorious figure in Louisiana politics before he came to Washington, D.C., Fletcher was a political operative through and through.

Although he spent most of his career working for other politicians, he came very close to winning his own race for a House seat in 2002.

Nothing seemed to slow down Fletcher or keep him from the work about which he was so passionate — not even cancer.

Fletcher was diagnosed with a rare sarcoma soon after he began working for Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) as his chief of staff in January. His illness forced him to resign the post, leaving Fleming without a chief for roughly six months, until Dana Gartzke stepped in to fill the role.

But Fletcher’s presence was still felt among his former colleagues.

Jamie Hennigan, senior policy adviser in Fleming’s office, credited Fletcher with giving him his start in politics by hiring him to work on his Congressional campaign.

“He had an uncanny ability to make you believe in yourself because he believed in you,— Hennigan said. “Coming right out of high school, that meant a lot.—

Fletcher would later remember Hennigan and bring him to Fleming’s office.

At a memorial service for Fletcher, Fleming recalled that he hadn’t even wanted his future chief’s help on his campaign. Fletcher called Fleming repeatedly to discuss campaign strategy and the now-Congressman finally caved and brought him on board. He remembered Fletcher as working tirelessly to get him into office.

Even when they got to Washington, Fleming said Fletcher was always committed to doing what was right for the people of their district.

“We became soulmates, in a way,— Fleming said. “My life is much better for having a friend such as Lee Fletcher.—