Las Vegas Sun

November 24, 2014

Currently: 44° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Reid tearfully says good-bye to longtime assistant

It’s been a rough week for Harry Reid.

He’s been rumbling with the Republicans over the debt ceiling. In the middle of that, he lost one of his mentors and closest allies in the Senate, Hawaii Sen. Dan Inouye, who died Monday and spent Thursday lying in state in the Capitol. And his longtime personal assistant, Janice Shelton, is retiring after 25 years.

As Reid was saying his public goodbye to Shelton on the Senate floor Thursday, the usually steely-eyed Majority Leader did something heretofore unseen on the Senate floor: he broke down.

“I thought we had shed all our tears but I guess not,” he said, removing his glasses and wiping his eyes for over half a minute.

Shelton and Reid have been through a lot together, including 25 years of late nights, and even a few family tragedies.

It was Shelton who told Reid that his wife, Landra, had been hurt in a car accident while Reid was in the deepest throes of negotiating a health care bill. More recently, Shelton also helped Landra through some of her worst struggles with breast cancer.

Reid began to tear up as he recalled these stories.

“Today is her last day, just a few more hours to work here,” Reid said, his voice trailing off as he cried briefly, and recalled words once told him by his closest mentor and best friend, former Nevada Governor Mike O’Callaghan, who passed away in 2004. Reid keeps two pictures of O'Callaghan by his desk in his Senate office.

“[O’Callaghan] was my mentor, my best friend and he taught me something that I’ve always remembered: You can buy a resume, you can buy good looks, education, experience -- but the one thing you can’t buy is loyalty,” Reid said. “There’s no one that’s ever been more loyal to me than Janice Shelton.”

Shelton’s last day in the Senate is Thursday.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: comment so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

No trusted comments have been posted.