Feb 4, 2021 - Politics & Policy

First Black secretary of Senate appointed

Photo of Chuck Schumer speaking on the left and Ann Berry smiling on the right

Photos: Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images (left) and Ann Berry's LinkedIn (right)

Sonceria "Ann" Berry has been appointed secretary of the Senate and will take office March 1, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: Berry is the first Black person and eighth woman to serve in the role since it was created in 1789.

Background: Berry has worked in the Senate for more than 40 years.

  • Her most recent post was as deputy chief of staff to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). She also worked for Democratic Sens. Thomas Carper (Del.), John Edwards (N.C.), Daniel Patrick Moynihan (N.Y.) and Howell Heflin (Ala.).

What they're saying: "It will be an honor to work with senators and staff on behalf of the country to advance our common goal of representing this great nation," Berry said.

  • Schumer said he is "ecstatic about the historic nomination," per a statement.

The big picture: The secretary of the Senate helps to ensure daily operations run smoothly. Responsibilities include maintaining Senate records, overseeing payroll distribution and helping to acquire necessary supplies.

  • Berry replaces outgoing Julie Adams, who worked under Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
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