Rich Galen

* US Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) has announced he will not run for re-election because he is suffering from a disorder known as Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration which is a disorder of the brain leading to a "group of progressive dementias that result from decline in brain cells which control behavior, thinking and communication."

* Pete Domenici was first elected to the US Senate in 1972. Just to remind us how long ago 1972 is; here is an entry from the "Information Please" website:

"Five men are apprehended by police in attempt to bug Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C.'s Watergate complex-start of the Watergate scandal (June 17)."

* I don't think that Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) would have known me by seeing me at any point over his past 36 years of public service, but I have been an admirer of his because one of the tests of a really good public servant is not just the work he or she does, but the people that they gather around them and who stay with them.

* Domenici has had great people around him - such as his Chief of Staff Steve Bell - for most of his Senate career.

* When the GOP took control of the Senate in the election of 1980, my boss, Dan Quayle took a seat on the Senate Budget Committee. As Quayle's press secretary I thought I should sit in some of the Budget Committee hearings.

* I had no idea what was going on, but Domenici did and so did Bell. Domenici used his great talents to devise the first Republican budget in decades. Bell worked hard to help me understand what I was watching so I could pass that information along to reporters covering the freshman Senator from Indiana.

* It wasn't just me. Even the Santa Fe New Mexican wrote:

"Sen. Domenici is one of America's premiere lawmakers and statesmen. His work on the federal budget, both as a minority and majority senator, has been exemplary."

* Santa Fe, as those of you who may have spent more than 17 seconds there know, is not exactly a hot-bed of Conservative thought.

* The Domenici/Quayle connection continued until an afternoon in August, 1988 in New Orleans when the Republican nominee for President, George H.W. Bush, announced he had chosen Quayle to be his Vice Presidential running mate.

* There are many who believed that the man who finished in second-place to Quayle in the VP sweepstakes was Pete Domenici.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at