August 22, 2014

I worked for a member of Congress on the House floor in 1974. It was an exciting time, and Jim Jeffords of Vermont was among the few new Republicans elected to the House that year. I tracked his impressive career from a unique vantage point, even after he moved on to the Senate. His recent death allowed for many gracious remembrances regarding his career including, of course, his startling switch from Republican to independent in President George W. Bush’s first term [“Jeffords changed trajectory of the Senate,” Politics Debrief, Aug. 19]. That threw control of the Senate to the Democrats, leaving a former Republican chairman or two literally crying in the halls of Congress.

Mr. Jeffords made his announcement about leaving the Republican Party the day after, as reported at the time by NBC News and others, White House adviser Karl Rove held back Mr. Jeffords’s invitation to a ceremony honoring a teacher from Vermont as “Educator of the Year” — an accolade for which Mr. Jeffords was partly responsible. A final straw or a shot well placed in one’s foot? Que sera sera.

Joe Foley, Potomac

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