By Holly South
Say what you will about these unprecedented, challenging and bizarre times, they clearly have brought out the best in legislative staff—most notably, their resiliency, creativity and compassion—and, happily, these efforts have not gone unnoticed.
Nearly 400 standing ovations were submitted during Legislative Staff Week to librarians, IT staff, clerks, HR employees, communications officers, maintenance staff, attorneys, fiscal staff, security officers, personal staff … the spectrum of roles in the legislature was well-represented.
Among the many heartfelt submissions, several really stood out:
To: Research Library staff, Nevada
Good legislative staff have always been flexible and able to handle unexpected changes in their work. My staff is very good. The current situation put a new twist on things, though. If you take librarians out of the library, can they still work? Oh boy, can they ever. I am so impressed with how well my staff has handled the transition to working remotely. We all miss our colleagues and our books, but with my dream team of Ali Jobe, Englisa Parker and Stephanie Heyroth Wilcox, we can (still) move mountains! —Submitted by Teresa Wilt.
To: Holly Vaughn Wagner, Delaware
Managing isn’t easy in “normal” times, but it’s even harder in a pandemic. Holly’s care for division staff and their well-being, focus on communication, and willingness to pitch in where needed have helped keep things running smoothly while working remotely. —Submitted by Mark Cutrona
To: Senate Technology and Support Services teams, Virginia
With two weeks’ notice, they moved the Senate chamber to the Science Museum of Virginia to have social distancing. This included the voting system, voting consoles, microphones, a copier, meals, hand sanitizer, masks and gloves—even a plexiglass cubicle to provide more protection for a member with health issues. They were absolutely amazing and saw the glass as half-full the whole time. All went smoothly and members were amazed. These are absolutely amazing public servants! Our nickname is “Wing It Productions. If it’s legal we can do it. No job too small.” —Submitted by Susan Clarke Schaar
To: Katie Whitehouse and Angela Fowlkes, District of Columbia
At the behest of Councilmember Robert White, these two individuals have worked tirelessly on behalf of District residents during this pandemic. They’ve worked on legislation to prevent families from being evicted, having their utilities shut off, and extending unemployment. Their work doesn’t go unrecognized throughout the year, but I especially wanted to honor their commitment as Legislative Staff during this unprecedented time in our country’s history. —Submitted by Andre Strickland
To: Marc-Yves Regis, Connecticut
Marc-Yves is a press aide for 10 state representatives, including me. At a time when communication with our constituents is more critical than ever, Marc-Yves’ ability to produce quality and timely written material, and to retain his calm and sense of humor under pressure is an extraordinary skill. —Submitted by Representative Maria Horn
Thanks to everyone who took the time to show their gratitude for the work of legislative staff! And extra kudos to staff from Connecticut and Delaware, who made a point of recognizing their colleagues throughout the week with dozens (and dozens!) of standing ovations.
If you didn’t have a chance to check out our resources last week or would like to bookmark them for a second read or listen, our 2020 Legislative Staff Week resources are available to you now:
Holly South is a senior policy specialist in the Legislative Staff Services Program and is NCSL’s liaison to ASLCS and LINCS.