Senate Radio-TV Gallery Head Moves On

DCRTV reminded us that we almost missed a milestone yesterday: Larry Janezich, the long-time head of the Senate’s Radio-TV Gallery, has retired.

Janezich, who’s had his current position for nearly 15 years, spent nearly forty years working in and around the Senate before settling into the Radio-TV Gallery, which serves as the primary gathering place and workspace for the journalists who cover the Senate.

Last month, the Hill examined the skills that kept Janezich on the job, and the short answer was: “hard, honest work.”

Full Congressional Record tribute after the jump.

TRIBUTE TO LARRY JANEZICH — (Congressional Record- February 08, 2005. P. S1112)

Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, I seek recognition today to pay tribute to an able and valued member of the Senate family, Larry Janezich, who retires this month after nearly four decades of service to this institution.

As a former chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, it was my pleasure to work closely with Larry and his staff as they managed coverage for Senate hearings, news conferences, and other media events during my time as head of that panel.

As chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on the Presidential Inauguration in 1997, I had the opportunity to observe firsthand Larry’s great skill in balancing the demands of the press who covered that historic event with the security concerns required by the Secret Service.

During that time, and for more than a quarter century, Larry served the news correspondents of the Senate and House with distinction. I ask unanimous consent to print in the RECORD the following thoughtful tribute to Larry from his colleague, Mike Viqueira, chairman of the Executive Committee of Correspondents of the Congressional Radio-TV Galleries.

There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the RECORD, as follows:

Farewell Tribute to Larry Janezich
(By Mike Viqueira, written with the assistance of Dean Norland of ABC News)

Larry came here when the Senate gallery was little more than a broom closet and has ended up devoting most of his life to the place. There were very few producers or “off-airs” in those days, just reporters who worked on typewriters and used dial telephones. The wire machines clacked and ticked ….. someone had to rip them and post them, and change the ribbon. You could smoke a cigar in the gallery studio and there was a leather couch in case someone wanted to take a nap.

There were no live shots. If it were a really big event and you wanted to go live, then you had to get the phone company out here to install a cable about as thick as your thumb, and only 3 or 4 film crews showed up for news conferences in the tiny studio.

Larry has seen and been a part of a lot of history during his tenure ….. from Watergate hearings ….. debates over wars from Vietnam to Iraq ….. the Clarence Thomas hearings ….. Inaugurations of presidents and the impeachment trial of one of them. He was here when terrorists set off explosions on the Senate side. Those are just the most notable events.

But what we don’t often consider is all the little, day-to-day, year-to-year jobs that the gallery director handles for our membership ….. from stewardship of the TASC funds to the compilation of the minutes of these very meetings, Larry has done it all with conscientious professionalism. He has worked too many late nights to even remember and assuredly had to change many vacation plans, tailoring his life to the whims and caprice of the U.S. Senate.

Larry is both a loyal Senate employee and a student of the institution, and there can be no doubt that he cares very passionately about what happens here. He has always tried to strike a fair balance between the government and the press; to negotiate fairly the no-man’s-land that describes the relationship between the two.

His job is an interesting one. No doubt it is sometimes enjoyable, and sometimes difficult. Larry is not only a very good cook (his polenta is said to be top notch) but an ardent Dylan fan. So, now as you put the Capitol in the rear view, it’s time to go out and enjoy life. So Larry, remember that even though it’s all over now, Baby Blue*, don’t think twice, it’s alright.