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House Clerk Butch Speer, right, chats with Senate Secretary Glenn Koepp as the pair wait for the joint session to start as the 2018 Regular Legislative Session begins Monday March 12, 2018, in Baton Rouge.

The sudden death of the longtime secretary of the Louisiana Senate, Glenn Koepp, underlined during the veto session of the Legislature the role of key staffers in making institutions run efficiently.

Koepp was the Senate’s top staffer for 16 years until his retirement in 2020. He died at 76 of a heart attack while visiting a son in Colorado.

Although retired as secretary, Koepp was working for the Senate lately as a contract employee to assist with the upcoming redistricting legislative session, where lawmakers will have to draw new boundaries for political offices. That every-decade task is part of the machinery of government that key officials like Koepp keep on the tracks.

In the hothouse atmosphere of the State Capitol during a session, it is critical that the operations of House and Senate be carried out as smoothly as the politically passionate debates allow. Koepp’s role was vital even if he was little-known to the public at large.

He was a popular figure in the State Capitol and will be missed.