For its “Staff Snapshots” series, State Legislatures News is asking legislative staff about their role in the legislature. If you’d like to suggest a staffer for this series, please email Holly South at NCSL.
Position: Sergeant-at-Arms, Texas Senate
Years of service: 15 years
Hometown: El Campo, Texas
Best advice he’s received: “Never quit,” from the drill instructors at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego
Why did you choose to work at the legislature?
The position of sergeant-at-arms is not a profession one chooses as a career. Ultimately, this position chooses you. I was serving on the governor’s protective detail when I was offered the opportunity to be the Senate assistant sergeant-at-arms. Before that, I was a state trooper and had absolutely no knowledge of working in the legislature. Glad it all worked out.
What skill or talent are you most proud of?
The ability to work with others. An experience I’m proud of is serving as a police recovery diver for the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Highway Patrol, for eight years. We searched for evidence used in the commission of crimes, but we also searched for and assisted flood victims and provided security well after the flooding. One of the most iconic was assisting in the search and recovery effort after the Space Shuttle Columbia blew up over Texas in February 2003. That was the longest operation ever.
Who or what inspires you?
Overcoming adversity and the people who have done so. From the military, those who survive combat conditions, to more recently, people who have been exonerated after years of wrongful incarceration.
What’s one thing you love about your state?
The diversity of each region.
What are you currently reading/watching?
Reading: “Lone Survivor,” about Operation Redwing and SEAL Team 10.