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Chambers in 13 States Elect New Chief Clerks and Secretaries

By Holly South  |  April 3, 2023

The new year brought with it new principal clerks or secretaries in 13 state legislatures nationwide. The new officers include a former clerk and several assistant clerks and secretaries, and all are veterans of the legislature.

NCSL congratulates these members of the American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries on their new roles as the chief administrative officers of their chambers. One of NCSL’s nine professional staff associations, ASLCS was founded in 1943 to improve legislative administration and establish better communication between clerks and secretaries throughout the United States and the territories. The officers are listed alphabetically by state. 

John Treadwell, clerk, Alabama House of Representatives

Treadwell, who was elected to be clerk on Jan. 10, has worked in the Alabama Legislature for more than a decade, including as the deputy director of the Legislative Services Agency’s legal division, the principal bill drafting and research office. Treadwell began his legal career in private practice in Morgantown, W.Va., then returned to his native Florida as an attorney for the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee. He is a member of the Alabama, Florida and West Virginia bar associations and serves as an associate commissioner on the Uniform Law Commission.

Tracy Cantella, secretary, Florida Senate

After graduating from the University of Utah with a degree in political science, Cantella moved to Florida and began her career with the state Senate as assistant to the secretary. In 2011, she joined the staff of the Senate Rules Committee as a legislative analyst, where she was “very fortunate” to work with former Florida House Clerk John Phelps, she says. She was named deputy staff director of the rules committee last March and was elected to serve as secretary of the Senate in November.

Erica McGinnis, chief clerk, Idaho House of Representatives

McGinnis was appointed chief clerk in August 2022. A one-day “extraordinary session” on Sept. 1 that year gave her a “crash course” in her new role, she says. She is now enjoying a more gradual education during the regular session. McGinnis has worked for the House for six legislative sessions and joined the clerk’s office in 2021 as the journal clerk. She is the mother of two energetic kids and an avid runner.

Daniel Oberlin, secretary, Michigan Senate

A graduate of Michigan State University, Oberlin has worked for the Michigan Senate in various capacities for 20 years, beginning with constituent relations and policy work for Sen. Burton Leland. Oberlin worked as a caucus policy analyst for several years and, after five years as a caucus policy director, was appointed assistant secretary of the Senate. He was elected to serve as secretary of the Senate in January; former Secretary Margaret O’Brien now serves as assistant secretary.

Rich Brown, clerk, Michigan House of Representatives

A former radio reporter, Brown was elected in 2000 to the Michigan House in 2000, where he served for three terms. He served as clerk from 2007-10, then as assistant clerk in last year’s session. He returned to the clerkship in January, succeeding Gary Randall, who retired this year.

Tom Bottern, secretary, Minnesota Senate

Bottern was elected unanimously as the new secretary of the Minnesota Senate in January. Previously the director of the Office of Senate Counsel, Research and Fiscal Analysis, Bottern has served the state Senate since 1997, with assignments to a variety of committees as counsel. A Wisconsin native, Bottern holds a law degree from the University of Wisconsin and a bachelor’s degree from Williams College. He and his wife, Cathy, reside in St. Paul with their two dogs. They are empty nesters, with two children in college and one living in New York City.

Kristina Martin, secretary, Missouri Senate

Martin began her career with the Missouri Senate in November 2013, splitting time between the secretary of senate’s office and journal production. She later joined the journal production staff full time and began staffing the Committee on Gubernatorial Appointments. In 2019, she became assistant secretary of the Senate and was elected secretary of the chamber on Jan. 4. Away from the Capitol, she enjoys traveling, shopping and spending time with her husband and three children.

Brandon Metzler, clerk, Nebraska Legislature

Metzler was elected clerk of the Nebraska Legislature in 2023 and serves as a division director in the unicameral body. Metzler previously served as the assistant clerk for three years under longtime Clerk Patrick O’Donnell. He’s held several other positions in the Legislature, including legislative page, assistant to the coordinator of legislative services and research analyst. Metzler graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, receiving his bachelor’s degree in 2015 and his law degree in 2018.

Brendan Bucy, secretary, Nevada Senate

Bucy was appointed as secretary of the Senate in early 2022 and was elected to the position on the first day of the 82nd legislative session in January. Bucy has a doctorate in political science from Boston College and served in the legal division of the Legislative Counsel Bureau during the 2019 and 2021 regular sessions and during three special sessions in 2020 and ’21. He was raised in Oregon and lives in Reno with his wife, a Nevada native, and their two boys.

Cheri Lujan, chief clerk, New Mexico Senate

Luhan was hired by the New Mexico Senate leadership in July to train as the chamber’s next chief clerk following the retirement of Lenore Naranjo. Luhan became chief clerk on Jan. 1. Lujan previously served as Senate staff for 13 legislative sessions, following work in the state’s General Services Department and nearly 20 years as district manager for a soil and water conservation district. She is the mother of four and has six grandchildren—with a seventh due to arrive around the time the Senate adjourns sine die. “I love to dance, travel and am married to my work,” she says.

Michael Gerdes, secretary and parliamentarian, Pennsylvania Senate

Gerdes’ role in the Pennsylvania Senate is twofold: As secretary, he administers the chamber’s legislative functions; as parliamentarian, he advises the lieutenant governor, who presides over Senate sessions. Gerdes began his work in the Senate in 2015 as deputy counsel to the majority caucus before serving as counsel to two Senate majority leaders. He earned his bachelor’s degree and Juris Doctor from Georgetown University. He resides in Mechanicsburg, Penn., with his wife and two daughters.

Stephen Brown, chief clerk, Texas House of Representatives

Brown was appointed chief clerk in mid-November 2022, replacing longtime Chief Clerk Robert Haney, who retired. A native Texan, Brown graduated from Texas State University in 2004, began his career in the House clerk’s office in 2005 and was appointed assistant chief clerk in 2015. He looks forward to serving in his new position and carrying on the tradition and legacies of his predecessors.

Katie Talbott, chief clerk, Wyoming House of Representatives

Born and raised in Cheyenne, Wyo., Talbott graduated with a degree in political science from the University of Wyoming. She has served as a legislative editor in the Wyoming Legislative Service Office since January 2020 and will resume those duties in the interim. “I’m looking forward to getting my first session as chief clerk under my belt and gaining some confidence in my role,” she says.

Holly South is a program principal in NCSL’s Legislative Staff Services Program.

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