Eric Schmeltzer

I can't believe it's been 10 yrs since Paul Wellstone, his wife, and staff died. I had the pleasure of working with him a few times. Besides my boss at the time, Congressman Jerry Nadler, Paul was my favorite guy ever, on Capitol Hill.

He was the first guy to ever give me a fist bump, after I organized a press conference for him and Jerry, that he thought went really well.

I remember at the Million Mom March, being behind the stage, as he and Jerry discussed a gun violence bill they were working on with me and one of Paul's staff. And about thirty minutes later, I feel a tap on my shoulder, and it's Paul, with an idea he just had for the bill, that he wanted to run by me. Yeah, he actually went to look for me, not for Jerry (don't tell Jerry that!). I still remember him talking about his idea, excitedly, and asking, "So, what do you think?"

What do *I* think? I remember thinking, "Wow, how many Senators would ask me what I - a 24 year old House staffer - think?!"

But that was Paul. Everything you hear today about Paul, in all the tributes, is 100 percent true. He was truly the most humble, down to earth, friendly, passionate, caring guy who ever served in the US Senate. Didn't matter if you were some kid staffer, like me, or President of the United States - Paul treated everyone with the same respect. I miss him terribly.