Sergeant at Arms of the United States Senate

The Sergeant at Arms of the Senate or originally known as the Doorkeeper of the Senate[1] from the First Congress until the Eighth Congress (April 7, 1789 – March 3, 1803) is the highest-ranking federal law enforcement officer in the Senate of the United States. One of the chief roles of the sergeant at arms is to hold the gavel used at every session.[2] The sergeant at arms can also compel the attendance of an absent senator when ordered to do so by the Senate.[1]

With the Architect of the Capitol and the House Sergeant at Arms, he serves on the Capitol Police Board, responsible for security around the building.

The sergeant at arms can, upon orders of the Senate, arrest and detain any person who violates Senate rules.[3]

The sergeant at arms is also the executive officer for the Senate and provides senators with computers, equipment, and repair and security services.[4]

In March 2014, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that Terrance W. Gainer was planning on retiring as Senate Sergeant at Arms, and would be replaced by Senate Deputy Sergeant at Arms Andrew B. Willison. [5] On January 6, 2015, the Senate swore in the sergeant at arms for its current term, Frank J. Larkin.[6]

On April 16, 2018, after Frank J. Larkin retired, Michael C. Stenger was nominated as the 41st sergeant at arms under Senate Resolution 465, put forth by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. This resolution was submitted in the Senate, considered, and agreed to without amendment by unanimous consent.[7]

Livingood Obama State of the Union 2011
Sergeant at Arms Terrance Gainer (right) escorting President Obama to his 2011 State of the Union Address
Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper of the U.S. Senate
Michael C. Stenger
Michael C. Stenger

since April 16, 2018
AppointerElected by the Senate
Term lengthUntil a successor is chosen
Inaugural holderJames Mathers

Staff and organization

The office of the Sergeant at Arms of the Senate has between 800 and 900 staff, of the approximately 4,300 working for the Senate overall. Its budget is on the order of $200 million per year. Top officials reporting to the sergeant at arms include a deputy; a chief of staff; assistant sergeant at arms for intelligence and protective services; a CIO; an operations chief; Capitol operations; a general counsel; two legislative liaisons; and a CFO.[8]

The main office of the sergeant at arms is in the Postal Square Building in Washington, D.C. The core computer operations are in that building, and the staff manage Internet and intranet connections to offices of senators both in the Capitol complex and back in their home states.[8][9]

List of the Sergeants at Arms of the Senate

Officer Tenure
James Mathers April 7, 1789 – September 2, 1811
Mountjoy Bayly November 6, 1811 – December 9, 1833
John Shackford December 9, 1833 – 1837
Stephen Haight September 4, 1837 – June 7, 1841
Edward Dyer June 7, 1841 – December 9, 1845
Robert Beale December 9, 1845 – March 17, 1853
Dunning R. McNair March 17, 1853 – July 6, 1861
George Brown July 6, 1861 – March 22, 1869
John R. French March 22, 1869 – March 24, 1879
Richard Bright March 24, 1879 – December 18, 1883
William Canaday December 18, 1883 – June 30, 1890
Edward K. Valentine June 30, 1890 – August 7, 1893
Richard Bright August 8, 1893 – February 1, 1900
Daniel Ransdell February 1, 1900 – August 26, 1912
Livingston Cornelius December 10, 1912 – March 4, 1913
Charles Higgins March 13, 1913 – March 3, 1919
David S. Barry May 19, 1919 – February 7, 1933
Chesley Jurney March 9, 1933 – January 31, 1943
Wall Doxey February 1, 1943 – January 3, 1947
Edward McGinnis January 4, 1947 – January 2, 1949
Joseph Duke January 3, 1949 – January 2, 1953
Forest Harness January 3, 1953 – January 4, 1955
Joseph Duke January 5, 1955 – December 30, 1965
Robert Dunphy January 14, 1966 – June 30, 1972[10]
William Wannall July 1, 1972 – December 17, 1975
Nordy Hoffmann December 18, 1975 – January 4, 1981
Howard Liebengood January 5, 1981 – September 12, 1983
Larry Smith September 13, 1983 – June 2, 1985
Ernest Garcia June 3, 1985 – January 5, 1987
Henry Giugni January 6, 1987 – December 31, 1990
Martha Pope January 3, 1991 – April 14, 1994
Robert Benoit April 15, 1994 – January 3, 1995
Howard Greene January 4, 1995 – September 6, 1996
Gregory Casey September 6, 1996 – November 9, 1998
James Ziglar November 9, 1998 – September 3, 2001
Alfonso E. Lenhardt September 4, 2001 – March 16, 2003
William H. Pickle March 17, 2003 – January 3, 2007
Terrance W. Gainer January 4, 2007 – May 2, 2014
Andrew B. Willison May 5, 2014 – January 5, 2015
Frank J. Larkin January 6, 2015 – April 16, 2018
Michael C. Stenger April 16, 2018 – Present[11]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Sergeant at Arms". United States Senate. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  2. ^ "Office of the Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper". United States Senate. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  3. ^ "U.S. Senate: Sergeant At Arms".
  4. ^ "Sergeant at Arms". United States Senate. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  5. ^ Berman, Russell (March 20, 2014). "Senate sergeant at arms to retire".
  6. ^ "Frank J. Larkin". United States Senate. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  7. ^ Mitch, McConnell, (2018-04-16). "S.Res.465 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): A resolution electing Michael C. Stenger as Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper of the Senate". Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  8. ^ a b Testimony of Frank J. Larkin, Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper of the Senate to the Senate Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch, Committee on Appropriations. March 1, 2016
  9. ^
  10. ^ Obituaries, Washington Post, January 21, 2006; Page B05
  11. ^ [1], United States Congress, April 16, 2018; 115th Congress
  12. ^ Mitch, McConnell, (2018-04-16). "S.Res.465 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): A resolution electing Michael C. Stenger as Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper of the Senate". Retrieved 2018-09-13.

External links

Alfonso E. Lenhardt

Alfonso E. Lenhardt (born 1943) represented the United States as Ambassador to Tanzania from 2009-2013. He was also accredited as the US representative to the East African Community (EAC) in 2010. He left his post in October 2013. From 2001 to 2003, he served as Sergeant at Arms of the United States Senate. From 1965 to 1997, he had a distinguished military career in the U.S. Army, with multiple assignments to various parts of the world, retiring as a highly decorated Major General.

On September 18, 2014 Lenhardt was confirmed to be the Deputy Administrator of the Agency for International Development. Following the departure of USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah in February 2015, Lenhardt assumed the role of acting administrator. Gayle Smith, President Barack Obama's nominee to be Shah's permanent successor, was confirmed by the Senate on November 30, 2015, and assumed the role of administrator on December 2, 2015.Cumulatively, Lenhardt served over 40 years in various government positions throughout his career. Beginning with his service as a young U.S. Army draftee in 1965, he had increasingly higher levels of responsility and distinction in service to the Nation.

Andrew B. Willison

Andrew Baker "Drew" Willison (born October 4, 1965) was the 39th sergeant at arms of the United States Senate from May 5, 2014, until January 5, 2015. Originally from the central Ohio area, Willison graduated from Greensville County High School in Emporia, Virginia, and attended the College of William & Mary, receiving his undergraduate degree in government. Willison went on to receive his master's degree in public administration from Ohio State University. Willison also has a law degree from the George Washington University Law School.

Capitol Police Board

The Capitol Police Board is a group of three members who maintain jurisdiction over the United States Capitol Police. The three members of this board are the Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers, the Sergeant at Arms of the United States Senate Michael C. Stenger, and the Sergeant at Arms of the United States House of Representatives Paul D. Irving. The Chief of the Capitol Police also serves as a member but in an ex officio status.

These same three individuals also made up the United States Capitol Guide Board which has jurisdiction over the United States Capitol Guide Service until the board and service were abolished in 2008. The position of Board Chairman is alternated between the House of Representatives Sergeant at Arms, who serves as the chairman during even years, and the Senate Sergeant at Arms, who serves during each odd year.

David S. Barry

David Sheldon Barry, Sr. (May 25, 1859 – February 10, 1936) was an American journalist who became the 17th Sergeant at Arms of the United States Senate, serving from 1919 to 1933.Barry's first-hand experience of politics began at the age of twelve as a page in the Michigan Legislature, where he served from 1871 to 1873, going on to become a United States Senate Page in 1875. He then entered a career in journalism which included stints as Washington correspondent for Detroit's Post and Tribune, editor-in-chief of The Providence Journal (1904–1906) and Washington bureau chief for The New York Sun, where he was known as a strong supporter of Theodore Roosevelt. He drew upon his experiences as a Washington correspondent for his 1924 book, Forty Years in Washington.Barry was appointed Sergeant at Arms to the United States Senate in 1919, and was dismissed in 1933 after accusations that an article that he wrote for the journal New Outlook libelled the Senate with claims that some members were well-known to sell their votes.He was the father of Col. David S. Barry. Jr., an officer in the United States Marines, and great-grandfather of Julia Thorne and Ambassador David Thorne.

Dunning R. McNair

Dunning Robert McNair (April 2, 1797 – March 16, 1875) was the Sergeant at Arms of the United States Senate from March 17, 1853 to July 6, 1861.

Edward K. Valentine

Edward Kimble Valentine (June 1, 1843 – April 11, 1916) was an American Republican Party politician.

Forest Harness

Forest Arthur Harness (June 24, 1895 – July 29, 1974) was a U.S. Representative from Indiana.

Frank "Nordy" Hoffman

Frank "Nordy" Hoffman (December 19, 1909 — April 5, 1996) was an American college football player at the University of Notre Dame where his record as All-American guard during the 1930 and 1931 seasons was commemorated, in 1978, with election to the College Football Hall of Fame. From 1975 to 1981, he served as the Sergeant at Arms of the United States Senate.His full name was Frank Nordhoff Hoffmann and everyone called him "Nordy". Born in Seattle, he attended St. Martin High School but didn't play football there. He enrolled at the University of Notre Dame and met football coach, Knute Rockne. The coach noted his size, 6-2 and 224 pounds, and asked Nordy to try out for football. As a sophomore, he was a fourth-string tackle on the 1929 squad that included some legendary Notre Dame names...Frank Carideo, Marty Brill, Frank Leahy, Marchy Schwartz, Tommy Yarr and Jack Cannon. He moved up to the varsity as a second-string tackle in 1930 and first-string guard in 1931. The Associated Press and Liberty Magazine named him to their All-America teams. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish football publicist, Joe Petritz, described Nordy as "the spark plug of the line, inspirational, fast, aggressive and consistent". He was a shot putter on the track team, and the student paper referred to him as a blue-eyed, blond-haired athlete who played piano and sang. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1978, and he called the ceremonies of the National Football Foundation, "the most beautiful thing that has happened to me". One of his prizes at his Hall of Fame induction was a book filled with letters of congratulation from presidents Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and all 100 U.S. Senators. Nordy served as sergeant-at-arms of the U.S. Senate, retiring in 1984.Hoffman died in Potomac, Maryland at the age of 91.

Frank Hoffman

Frank Hoffman may refer to:

Frank "Nordy" Hoffman (1909–1996), American college football player and the Sergeant at Arms of the United States Senate

Frank Hoffmann (Canadian football) (born 1980), Canadian football guard

Frank Hoffman (baseball), 19th-century baseball player

Frank Sargent Hoffman (1852–1928), American philosopher

Frank Hoffman (artist), see Harold Dow Bugbee

Frank J. Larkin

Francis J. "Frank" Larkin III (born May 9, 1955) served as the 40th Sergeant at Arms of the United States Senate after his appointment to that post by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on January 6, 2015, succeeding Andrew B. Willison. Larkin assumed his office as Sergeant at Arms after a distinguished career in both the public and private sector, including work in law enforcement, national security, information technology and cyber security. McConnell appointed Michael C. Stenger to succeed Larkin on April 16, 2018.He previously served in several posts at the United States Department of Defense and in law enforcement. Prior to assuming office, he served in the United States Navy as a Navy SEAL from 1973 to 1981. Mr. Larkin was also a uniformed police officer with the Norristown, Pennsylvania Police Department, a homicide detective with the Montgomery County, Pennsylvania District Attorney's Office, and a Maryland State Trooper as a peace officer-Flight Paramedic. Larkin joined the United States Secret Service (USSS) in 1984 as a Special Agent assigned to the Philadelphia Field Office. Later Larkin was transferred to Washington, D.C., where he held positions in the Office of Training, the Washington Field Office and the Presidential Protective Division. Larkin retired from the Secret Service in 2006.

Larkin holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Criminal Justice and a Master of Public Administration degree from Villanova University.

Gainer (surname)

Gainer is a surname. Notable people with the name include:

Aaron Gainer, member of American Christian post-grunge band '12 Stones'

Alice Gainer (born 1982), American television reporter

Del Gainer (1886–1947), American baseball player

Derrick Gainer (American football) (born 1966), American football player

Derrick Gainer (born 1972), American boxer

Sir Donald Gainer (1891–1966), British ambassador

Elmer Gainer (1918–1970), American basketball player

Forrest Gainer (born 1979), Canadian rugby player

Frank Gainer (1888–1975), Canadian politician

Glen Gainer, Jr. (1927–2009), American politician

Glen Gainer III (born 1960), American politician

Jay Gainer (born 1966), American baseball player

John L. Gainer (born 1938), American chemical engineer

Ronald William Gainer (born 1947), American Catholic priest, appointed Bishop of Harrisburg in 2014

Steve Gainer, American cinematographer

Terrance W. Gainer (born 1947), Sergeant at Arms of the United States Senate 2007–14

John R. French

John Robert French (May 28, 1819 – October 2, 1890) was an American publisher, editor and Republican politician. He served as a Congressional Representative from North Carolina, as Sergeant at Arms of the United States Senate and as a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives during the 1800s.

Mace of the United States House of Representatives

The Mace of the United States House of Representatives, also called the Mace of the Republic is a ceremonial mace and one of the oldest symbols of the United States government. It symbolises the governmental authority of the United States, and more specifically, the legislative authority of the House of Representatives.


Mathers is an English surname and may refer to:

Edward Peter Mathers (1850–1924), British journalist and newspaper proprietor

Edward Powys Mathers (1892–1939), British translator and poet

George Mathers, 1st Baron Mathers (1886–1965), Scottish politician

"Helen Mathers", pen-name of English author Ellen Buckingham Mathews (1853–1920)

Frank Mathers (1924–2005), Canadian hockey player and member of the Hockey Hall of Fame

James Mathers (died 1811), first Sergeant-at-Arms of the United States Senate

Jerry Mathers (born 1948), American actor

Marshall Bruce Mathers III (born 1972), better known by his stage-name "Eminem", American rapper, actor, producer, artist and writer

Moina Mathers (1865–1928), artist and occultist, wife of Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers

Paul Mathers (born 1970), Scottish footballer and coach

Peter Mathers (1931–2004), Australian author and playwright

Richard Mathers (born 1983), English rugby league player

Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers (1854–1918), English co-founder of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn

Robert Beale

Robert Beale may refer to:

Robert Beale (diplomat) (1541–1601), Clerk of the Privy Council and antiquary

Robert Beale, Sergeant-at-Arms of the United States Senate

Bobby Beale (1884–1950), English football player

Terrance W. Gainer

Terrance William Gainer (born August 1, 1947) is a former law enforcement officer and was the 38th Sergeant at Arms of the United States Senate and served in that position from January 4, 2007 to May 2, 2014.

Before Gainer continued his law enforcement career in Washington, D.C., he was the Republican candidate for Cook County State's Attorney in 1988, losing to then incumbent Richard M. Daley.

Wall Doxey

Wall Doxey (August 8, 1892 – March 2, 1962) was an American politician from Holly Springs, Mississippi. He served as a Democrat from Mississippi's 2nd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 1929 to 1941. After the death of U.S. Senator Pat Harrison, Doxey won a special election to his seat, and served in the United States Senate from 1941 until 1943. He was defeated in the 1942 Democratic primary by James Eastland.

Throughout his political career, Doxey represented a district with a black-majority population, whose political affiliation in the nineteenth century had been with the Republican Party. But, African Americans were effectively excluded from the political system from 1890 to the late 1960s by Mississippi's constitution and restrictions affecting voter registration. Doxey was the only United States Senator to serve also as the Senate Sergeant at Arms. He was appointed to this position after losing his Senate seat, serving from February 1, 1943 to January 3, 1947.

Wall Doxey State Park, a state park in Mississippi, is named after him.

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