group photo of American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries members meeting in atlanta in 2018

The American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries met for its annual professional development seminar in Madison, Wis., in 2018. Among the more than 200 attendees was the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s mascot, Bucky Badger (not shown here).

New Principal Clerks and Secretaries for 2021

By Holly South | Jan. 27, 2021 | State Legislatures Magazine

A new year means a new principal clerk or secretary in several legislatures. Congratulations to these members of the American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries (ASLCS) in their new roles as chief administrative officers of their chambers!

Ryan Dunphy, Delaware Senate

Prior to his election on Jan. 12, Delaware native and Villanova University alumnus Dunphy served as both a Senate staffer and an attache in office of the secretary of the Senate.

Dunphy, 24, is the youngest principal clerk or secretary currently serving, but he’s not the youngest in recent memory. Ed Smith was just 20 when he was elected clerk in Montana for the 1973 session. Dunphy succeeds Joy Bower, who retired after 32 years with the Delaware Senate.

Michael Queensland, Wisconsin Senate

Michael Queensland was elected Jan. 4 to replace the retiring Jeff Renk, who served 40 years in both houses of the legislature. Queensland has been with the legislature for nearly a decade as an attorney for Wisconsin Legislative Council, where he advised on issues relating to agriculture, criminal law, drug policy and the judiciary as well as on matters of legislative procedure and operations.

He’s familiar to many at NCSL through his work on the Law, Criminal Justice and Public Safety Standing Committee and the Research, Editorial, Legal and Committee Staff (RELACS) professional association.

Queensland grew up on a farm in southeastern Minnesota and was a three-time All-American for the national champion UW-La Crosse track and field team. He continues to coach youth athletes and runs around after his two sons, ages 5 and 2.

Carolyn Tschida, Montana House of Representatives

Tschida, who is married with two grown sons, joined the House of Representatives in 2017 and served as deputy chief clerk for the 2019 legislative session. A native Midwesterner and long-term resident of Montana, she embarked on her career in the legislature after 25 years in the telecommunications industry and a lot of travel; she has visited all 50 states.

As she looks forward to her first session as chief clerk, she notes, “I love helping 100 hardworking legislators … the variety of work and the fast pace!”

BetsyAnn Wrask, Vermont House of Representatives

Wrask began her legal career as second assistant clerk of the House for the 2006-08 sessions. After a two-year stint as a prosecutor in Vermont’s Office of Professional Regulation, she returned to the General Assembly as a nonpartisan legislative counsel, handling issues relating to government operations (general government structure, elections, public safety, municipal law and professional regulation). 

Wrask is happy to return to her roots in the House, and on Jan. 6 became the first woman to serve as clerk of the House since the position was created in the original 1777 state Constitution.

Holly South is with NCSL’s Legislative Staff Services Program and serves as the liaison to the American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries.

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