By Holly South
She's a champion of civic education and a go-to resource on legislative internship programs, having run Kentucky’s highly regarded program for the Legislative Research Commission (LRC) for two decades.
She’s a mentor to the hundreds of interns who have participated in the LRC program and entered into public service themselves for the state government—a huge source of satisfaction to her.
“It’s amazing to think about all the lives Sheila has touched and successful careers that have been launched through the LRC Internship program. What an awesome example of servant leadership those young people take out into the world and sometimes right back into the LRC," says Jay Hartz, director of the Legislative Research Commission.
She’s been extremely generous with her time, wisdom and expertise as a dedicated member of the RELACS professional staff association, which rewarded her with the 2005 Legislative Staff Achievement Award; by serving on panels at the Legislative Summit; and contributing to NCSL publications.
She’s the record-keeper of the Kentucky legislative process.
“For years as a nonpartisan LRC staffer and now House clerk, I’ve relied daily on Sheila Mason’s knowledge of the legislative process," says Melissa Bybee-Fields, chief clerk of the Kentucky House of Representatives. "Anyone who follows legislation in Kentucky, has logged onto our website or grabbed the printed version of the Legislative Record, has benefited from the hard work and late nights Sheila has put in over the years. On top of all that she wears many other hats around the agency and is definitely a goldmine of institutional knowledge that we are blessed to still be learning from. Thank you and congratulations on your 50 years of public service!”
She’s the consummate legislative staffer, serving with distinction and dedication behind the scenes. And she’s been doing it for 50 years.
"Sheila is not just our institutional memory of the past two generations, but also our institutional conscience today. Several of the people I would consider the cornerstones of our agency were in fact mentored and molded by Sheila," adds said Chuck Truesdell, fiscal analyst, Legislative Research Commission and former NCSL Staff Chair (2017-2018). "That speaks to her lasting influence. And because of her work with every LRC intern who enters the building, that legacy will endure for years to come, and our commonwealth is the better for it. She's the epitome of what legislative service and civic duty should be."
It’s not only her colleagues who have been quick to sing her praises; a bipartisan group of legislative leaders wrote a tribute to Sheila, as well.
Holly South is with NCSL’s Legislative Staff Services Program and serves as liaison to the American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries.