Mr. President, today I wish to recognize the outstanding service Jacob Triolo has provided to the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship in his capacity as a professional staff member. When Jacob--known to most as Jake--joined the committee staff in the spring of 2007, I knew that I had selected a top-notch staffer who cared deeply about making a difference in peoples' lives. We will miss his dedication and insight when he leaves Capitol Hill next month to pursue a law degree at Washington & Lee University in historic Lexington, VA.
A native of Oregon and a 2004 dean's list graduate of the University of Oregon, Jake came across the country to Capitol Hill in the summer of 2004 to begin working for my good friend and former colleague, Senator Gordon H. Smith. Starting out in the front office as a staff assistant, Jake immediately sought out additional responsibilities and was promoted to the position of legislative correspondent in less than a year's time. In 2007, when I was looking to hire a new staff member to handle a wide-ranging portfolio of issues for the Small Business Committee, I was immediately impressed by Jake's ability to multitask and his willingness to tackle a variety of issues simultaneously. His astute research, concise analysis, and willingness to accept new challenges made him an ideal candidate to represent the committee on a variety of small business initiatives, including entrepreneurial development programs, disaster oversight, science and innovation, and funding for the Small Business Administration. Additionally, those who know Jake, including Senator Smith, spoke glowingly of his professionalism and creativity.
Jake immediately hit the ground running, compiling intelligent and thoughtful background memoranda and hearing materials that contained tremendous insight and detailed analysis. One of his first endeavors as part of my staff was playing a leading role in developing legislation that would overhaul the SBA's disaster response program. In the wake of the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita back in 2005, Jake helped me to identify the causes of the Federal Government's substandard response by working on the Small Business Disaster Response and Loan Improvement Act of 2007. Early in his tenure, Jake came into the office over several weekends, on his own volition, and successfully advocated to include these key provisions into the farm bill conference. As a result of his diligence and persistence, I successfully worked with a number of my Senate colleagues in advocating for private lending institutions to have the option of making private disaster loans following large-scale disasters. This change, which was passed into law, will greatly improve our country's ability to respond to natural disasters. As a responsible and trusted member of the committee team, Jake has also traveled to the gulf region to monitor progress and attend critical field hearings focused on rebuilding communities devastated by hurricanes.
Additionally, as ranking member of the Senate Small Business Committee, I am charged with fully considering the concerns of entrepreneurs and small firms nationwide. As such, Jake labored extensively on the Patent Reform Act of 2007, helping me to ensure that small businesses retained their voice in the process by preparing me for negotiations with the Judiciary Committee on provisions that would protect their unique interests. While this legislation did not pass, his efforts helped guarantee that entrepreneurs will be taken into account during discussions of policy changes, such as modifications to the post-grant review process--work that will provide a solid foundation as the Senate continues its attempt at patent reform this Congress.
Jake's command of individual subject matters and appreciation for collaboration has been a direct result of his tenacious study and exposure to the legislative process. In large measure, his success as a Hill staffer is due to his ability to cultivate lasting professional relationships with staffers from other offices in the Senate, House, and at Federal agencies. His sense of humor and easygoing personality make him easily likeable, and many of his colleagues have become close friends throughout the years. Jake is also a tremendously caring individual, and his family plays a central focus in his life. That is why when his sister, Renata, came to Washington for an internship, Jake was certain to look after her as she followed in her big brother's footsteps.
Jake is fond of saying that the classic movie ``Mr. Smith Goes to Washington'' has influenced his career, and provided him the impetus for attending law school. Well, Mr. President, Jake Triolo has gone to Washington, and he is now headed into a vast frontier where, with his knowledge, resilience, and passion, he has a bright future with no bounds. I fully expect that in 3 years' time, Jake will be back in Washington, serving our Nation's people in one capacity or another. A dedicated public servant who has demonstrated a capacious appetite for learning and a true talent for public policy, Jacob Triolo has been an asset to me and to the committee staff during his nearly 2\1/2\ years here. I wish him luck at Washington & Lee and in every endeavor he pursues.
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