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Senate Legislative Counsel Staffer Dies

A longtime aide in the Senate Office of Legislative Counsel, Janine Johnson, died May 29 after an extended illness.

Johnson, a 1989 cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, served as assistant counsel in the office. She was known for her ability to distill arcane legislative policy into easily understandable material, said her colleague Legislative Counsel Jim Fransen.Praising her work on the Senate floor last week, Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.) called Johnson a “legislative magician” who “shone with an intense and pure inner light.”

Johnson had often drafted environmental bills, which fell under Jeffords’ purview as ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said Communications Director Eric Smulson.

Outside of the office, the 37-year-old staffer was a dance and music aficionado who worked backstage during performances of the Washington Revels, a group devoted to madrigal singing, old English carols and traditional dance. A dedicated gardener, Johnson also found time to read weekly to a blind member of her church, the Third Church of Christ, Scientist.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. June 27 at Western Presbyterian Church, located at 2401 Virginia Ave. NW.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to: Third Church of Christ, Scientist, 900 16th St. NW, Washington, DC 20006.

— Bree Hocking