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Senate Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper: A Primer

The Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper (Sergeant at Arms)
is an elected officer of the Senate and is the chamber's
primary law enforcement and protocol official, responsible
for the protection, security, decorum, and other
administrative aspects of the Senatefloor, Senatewing of
the Capitol, Senate office buildings, and adjacent grounds.
The office was initially established during the First
Congress, whentheSenate elected James Mathers as Senate
Doorkeeper. The Senate Sergeant at Arms performs duties
according to law, Senate rules, and custom.
Resolved, That the Doorkeeper of the Senate be, and
he is hereby, invested with the authority of Sergeant-
at-Arms, to hold said office duringthe pleasure of the
Senate, whose duty it shall be to execute the
commands of the senate, from time to time, and all
such process as shall be directed to him by the
President of the Senate.
-Annals of Congress, February 5, 1798, pp. 497-498.
Selection Process
The Senate elects the Sergeant at Arms, who serves until
the Senate chooses a successor. The Senate typically
considers a Senate Resolution (S.Res.) to elect a Sergeant at
Arms. Typically, the Senate agrees to theresolutionby
unanimous consent (UC). For example, the current Seigeant
at Arms, Karen Gibson, was electedin the 117th Congress
(S.Res. 127) on March 22, 2021.
Acting Sergeant at Arms Appointment
Should the Sergeant at Arms die, resign, orbecome
disabled, the Deputy Sergeant at Arms shallact as
Sergeant at Arms in carrying out the duties and
responsibilities of thatoffice in all matters until such time
as a new Sergeant at Arms ... shall have been elected and
qualified or such disability shallhave beenended(2
U.S.C. §6593).
1  th Congress
On January 7, 2021, Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger
resigned following the events ofJanuary6, 2021, at the
U.S. Capitolduring the joint session of Congress to certify
and count the2020 presidentialelection electoralvotes.
Pursuant to 2U.S.C. §6593, Deputy Sergeant at Arms
Jennifer Hemingway began serving as acting Sergeant at
Arms. On March 22, 2021, the Senate elected Karen Gibson
as the Sergeant at Arms (S.Res. 127).

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Immediate Past Sergeants at Arms
Table 1 lists the 12individuals who haveserved as
Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper since 1991, and the date
they were first elected.
Table I. Senate Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper,
Congresses             Name              Elected
102nd(1991-92)to  MarthaPope              1/3/1991
103rd (1993-94)
103rd(1993-94)    Robert Laurent Benoit   4/15/1994
104th (1995-96)   Howard Greene           1/4/1995
104th (1995-96) to  Gregory Casey         9/6/1996
osth (1997-98)
105th (1997-98) to  James Ziglar          1 1/9/1998
1071h (2001-02)
107th (2001-02) to  Alfonso Lenhardt      9/4/2001
1081h (2003-04)
108th (2003-04) to  William Pickle        3/17/2003
109th (2005-06)
1 10th (2007-08) to  Terrance Gainer      1/4/2007
1 1 3th (20 13-14)
S3th (2013-14)    Andrew Willison         5/5/2014
1 14th (2015-16) to  Frank Larkin         1/6/2015
1 15th(2017-18)
1 15th (2017-18) to  Michael Stengera     4/16/2018
1 17th (2021-22)
1 17th (2021 -22)  Karen Gibson           3/22/2021

Source: U.S. Congress, Senate Historical Office, at
a.  Michael Stenger resigned onJanuary7,2021.Jennifer
Hemingway, Deputy Sergeantat Arms, served as acting Sergent
of Arms fromJanuary7,2021,to March 22,2021.
Duties and Responsibilities
The duties and responsibilities of the Sergeant at Arms have
developed over time and can be located in law, rules,
custom, and precedent.
Additionally, the Senate Committee on Rules and
Administration and the Senate Committee on
Appropriations define other duties of the Sergeant at Arms.
The Senate Rules and Administration Committee provides
oversight to the Sergeant at Arms.

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