Paula Nowakowski, chief of staff to House Republican Leader John Boehner, died unexpectedly over the weekend at the age of 46. I had known her since 1989, when we worked together at the research department of the Republican National Committee. She was that rarest of combinations: politically brilliant and absolutely trustworthy, full of fight without a particle of meanness. In announcing her death, Representative Boehner captured her perfectly:
We will remember Paula as she would want to be remembered – as a tireless worker, faithful friend, rabid Detroit sports fan, whipsmart strategist, warrior for freedom, and devoted Catholic who counted President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II among her greatest heroes.
She left us way too soon. Rest in peace.
— John J. Pitney Jr. is the Roy P. Crocker Professor of American Politics at Claremont McKenna College.