Lawmakers in three chambers are welcoming new faces at the rostrum. The new chief clerks and secretaries, who will serve as the top administrative officers in their respective chambers, are experienced legislative staffers and longtime members of the American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries, one of NCSL’s nine professional staff associations.
Arizona House of Representatives
Krystle Fernandez is the new chief clerk and counsel for the Arizona House of Representatives. She spent the last four sessions as the House rules attorney and counsel for the Ethics Committee. Previously, she served as a Maricopa County prosecutor. She is a graduate of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.
“As chief clerk, her legal and legislative acumen, paired with informed insight and judgment, will serve the House and public well,” House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R) said.
House Democratic Leader Reginald Bolding praised the selection of Fernandez as the new chief clerk. “As one of the rules attorneys for the last several sessions, Ms. Fernandez earned the trust and respect of our caucus,” he said. “I look forward to continuing working together in this new capacity.”
Fernandez said she was honored to be selected for her new position, adding, “Serving the House as nonpartisan counsel in the Rules Office has been a highlight of my career, and I look forward to being able to contribute to another integral part of the legislative process.”
Fernandez succeeds Jim Drake, who was appointed to Maricopa County Superior Court.
Virginia House of Delegates
Paul Nardo returns to the rostrum as clerk of the House of Delegates and keeper of the rolls of the commonwealth. He served as clerk for eight years. One of his many initiatives was to launch a biographical database of the 10,000 people who have served in the Virginia House since 1619 as part of the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Virginia’s House of Burgesses.
“The hallmark of Paul’s prior service as clerk was professionalism, and he ensured the House operated with clockwork precision and efficiency,” Speaker Todd Gilbert (R) said. Nardo was unanimously elected by the members of the House on Jan. 12, succeeding Suzette Denslow, who was the first woman to serve in that role.
Nardo also has served on NCSL’s Executive Committee and was a guest on the first episode of NCSL’s special podcast series Building Democracy.
Sarah Bannister has become the first woman in state history to serve as secretary of the Senate.
Bannister has spent more than 20 years in the Senate, most recently as deputy secretary. Minority Leader John Braun (R) supported her nomination, describing her as “exceptionally well qualified … (with) a deep appreciation for the history and workings of the Senate (and) relationships with staff and members that I think will make her a very successful secretary.”
Bannister was elected unanimously on Jan. 10. She succeeds her former boss, Brad Hendrickson, who retired after 40 years with the Legislature.
Holly South is a senior policy specialist in NCSL’s Legislative Staff Services Program and serves as the NCSL liaison to the American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries, one of nine professional staff associations at NCSL.