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DEATH OF JEFFREY J. DYE (Senate - May 19, 1997)
Mr. AKAKA. Mr. President, it is with a heavy heart that I rise to observe the untimely death late last month of my former Senate staff member, Jeffrey J. Dye , the young executive director of the Tennessee Democratic Party, and the only son of Dennis and Janell Dye .
After serving less than 2 months in his new position, and reportedly meeting every challenge that this difficult job had to offer, Jeff was struck down in the very prime of life, at 27, by an epileptic seizure.
It was a tragedy to his family, his friends, and the party he served with such fire and dedication.
Jeff's passing has a very personal impact, Mr. President, because he worked for me for 2 1/2 years, first as a research assistant and later as a legislative correspondent, until he obtained a coveted position with the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee [DLCC] last July.
As a Senate staffer, Jeff displayed the thirst for knowledge and eagerness to serve that characterizes many idealistic youth who come to Washington, He fulfilled his duties capably and supported me and my legislative staff in my Senate responsibilities. He gave much, Mr. President, and he learned much about the duties and responsibilities of public service.
But it was clear from the start that Jeff chafed to do more. His endless interest in the political drama of our times, coupled with his youthful energy, finally turned him to the arena that he truly was born for: electoral politics, the art and science of political campaigning.
Never was there an operative so constitutionally fitted for the rock and roll of modern, media-age politics as he. Jeff loved the ups and downs of elections, the eat-or-be eaten nature of the democratic process, whether in the form of a Presidential campaign or a race for the local school board. He had a Texas-size appetite where these things applied.
But Jeff was not merely interested in the process. He was driven by a real concern for the people of our country. He had a passion to help ordinary Americans, and an abiding confidence in the ability, and indeed the obligation, of government to help the less fortunate. That is why he worked long hours, well into the evenings, to learn more about the political profession.
Indeed, Jeff had a personal vision, one that he shared with some of my staff. He hoped to use the Internet as a communication tool for campaigns. His idea was to establish a multicandidate, multiparty bulletin board on the Internet for campaign literature and party platforms. Through this means, he hoped that everyone might have access to the information they needed to make better decisions about candidates and campaigns. Campaigns would thus be fairer and more informed.
So when Jeff left my office last July to take up a position with the DLCC, the organization within the national Democratic Party that focuses on electing Democrats to State legislatures, I felt the loss of his departure but understood that he was going forward in the right direction. And when I heard that his success at the DLCC led to a position with the Tennessee Democratic Party, I knew he had found his dream.
Jeff's unexpected death the third Monday in April was thus double tragic, for in addition to his youth, he seemingly had at last found a position that exactly meshed with his temperament, interests, and abilities. His opportunities appeared boundless.
But if Jeff was taken from us just as he appeared to be fully engaged in life, we must remember that he died doing that which he truly loved. How many of us can say the same?
Mr. President, Jeff's years among us were far too few, but let us take comfort in the knowledge that he lived them fully. May his parents and loved ones take solace in his bright memory.