By Holly South
The 2019 legislative session is the first as chief clerk or secretary for these members of the American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries (ASLCS)—but all of these legislative staffers have spent years in the statehouse. (See part one of the roundup.)
Michael Hurley | Clerk, Massachusetts Senate
South Boston native Hurley has spent 25 years in the clerk’s office, most recently as assistant clerk, before being appointed to succeed William Welch, who retired on Jan. 1. Welch told South Boston Online of his successor’s leadership on technology, efforts that have made the chamber more efficient for its members and more transparent to the public: “There is nobody more capable of taking the clerk’s office and the Senate into an even more advanced digital space than Michael Hurley,” he said. “And, quite frankly, you couldn’t ask for a better person.”
Cindi Markwell | Secretary, Colorado Senate
A 35-year statehouse veteran, Markwell previously served as Senate secretary from 2011-2015. Markwell then moved to Las Vegas for her retirement and spent time traveling, relaxing and enjoying her grandchildren. “I also volunteered for the USO twice a week and volunteered as a team leader for Elections in Nevada. Upon request of the new Senate president, I came back again to work in the Colorado Senate,” she said. “I'm looking forward to getting reacquainted with many of [my fellow clerks and secretaries] and looking forward to meeting others for the first time!”
Linda Metzger | Secretary, New Jersey Senate
Metzger has worked for the Senate since 2013, and also served as chief clerk of the General Assembly from 1996-2002.
Dana Miller | Chief Clerk and Administrator, Missouri House
Miller was “bitten by the legislative bug” as an intern in the Missouri Senate. She joined the House Clerk’s Office in 2001 and recognized that she had truly found her niche. In 2013, Miller was appointed as the assistant chief clerk and director of procedures and, earlier this month, was elected as the chief clerk and administrator of the Missouri House of Representatives for the 100th General Assembly. “I love having a job where I can say that I know someone from literally every part of the state,” she says. Her appointment was met with enthusiasm from both sides of the aisle; representatives praise her knowledge, experience and vision. As do her colleagues. “I’ve worked with Dana for more than 10 years,” sys Assistant Chief Clerk Emily White. “Not only is she a wonderful person to work with, she also has a wealth of institutional knowledge, and a tireless passion for the House and our Capitol.”
Margaret O’Brien | Secretary, Michigan Senate
Before becoming secretary, the former Realtor, social worker, and mother of four served for 15 years in elected office, for the Portage City Council, Michigan House of Representatives and Michigan State Senate. “In both the House and Senate, I was one of the presiding officers and gained a reputation for fair but firm implementation of the rules of each body,” she says, adding that because of this background, “I appreciate the traditions and rules that guide the lawmaking process.” O'Brien credits Michigan House of Representatives Clerk Gary Randall, who “taught me about the importance of reverence and respect for the institution of state government. It is very exciting to be a peer to a man who taught me the most important lessons of being a legislator and presiding officer.” Another reason she’s excited about her role? Her love of history. “I collect a lot of historical books on Michigan and her people," she says. "My role as secretary places me on the Michigan Capitol Commission whose duty is to preserve the past and honor the future. This includes the preservation of the Capitol to ensure it is available for generations to come.”
Jeff Takacs | Clerk, Florida House
Originally from Folsom, Penn., Takacs has worked in and around the legislative process for more than 18 years, most recently advising the last two Florida House Speakers, Steve Crisafulli (R) and Richard Corcoran (R). Takacs is looking forward to his new role, particularly “assisting the speaker as he leads the body during the daily order of business [and] helping the members with various rules and parliamentary procedure questions.” He also feels fortunate “that I get to lead a team with a wide variety of talents and experiences as we work to serve the House and its members.”
Holly South is a policy specialist in NCSL’s Legislative Staff Services Program and serves as the NCSL liaison to the American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries (ASLCS). ASLCS is one of nine professional staff associations at NCSL.