Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Senate Making History With New Sergeant At Arms Karen Gibson And The First All-Female SAA Leadership

March 22, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding Lieutenant General Karen Gibson officially assuming her position as the  42nd Sergeant at Arms in the Senate’s history. Lieutenant General Karen Gibson will be joined by Kelly Fado, as Deputy Sergeant at Arms, and Jennifer Hemingway as chief of staff. This is the first time in Senate history that the leadership of the Sergeant at Arms is comprised entirely of women.  Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

A few weeks ago, I announced that Lieutenant General Karen Gibson would assume the responsibilities of the Senate Sergeant at Arms, becoming only the 42nd Sergeant at Arms in the Senate’s history.

I’m very pleased this afternoon to make her appointment official with her family watching on: her father David, her mother Rebecca, her sister Kathleen, her brother-in-law Daniel, her nephew Bennett, and her cousin Aaron.

Lieutenant General Gibson is taking on a really big job and I know that her family could not be more proud of her.

The Senate Sergeant at Arms was established more than two centuries ago, when the United States Senate was still in its infancy. Back then, the primary duty of the Sergeant at Arms was essentially Senatorial babysitting—recalcitrant Senators made finding a quorum a routine challenge.

Today, the Sergeant at Arms is the Senate’s chief administrative officer and chief law enforcement officer.

They have the enormous responsibility of keeping the trains running on time, while at the same time keeping everyone— everyone—in the Capitol safe.

Suffice it to say, Lieutenant General Gibson has a tall order. But I have every confidence that she will perform her duties at the same, exemplary standard she set over the course of her three-decade military career. As a senior intelligence officer in the office of the Director of National Intelligence, Lieutenant General Gibson supported U.S. national security objectives in Iraq, Afghanistan, East Africa, Korea, the Pacific, and across the Middle East. Since January 6th, she’s been working with retired Army Lieutenant General Russel Honoré on a comprehensive review of the Capitol’s security.

So given her background and given what she has done recently I know that she is ready to hit the ground running. Lieutenant General Gibson is ready to go, and her responsibility to ensure a safe working environment for Senators, visitors, Capitol employees, staff, and reporters with the utmost of gravity and confidence.

Joining her in the office of the Sergeant at Arms will be Kelly Fado, as Deputy Sergeant, and Jennifer Hemingway as chief of staff—two Capitol veterans and trusted members of the Senate family.

This is a historic day in a second way. This will be the first time in the history of the Senate that the leadership of the Sergeant at Arms will be comprised entirely of women—another crack in the glass ceiling. And I cannot think of a better team than the one we’ve put together. Congratulations to all three of them on officially starting their new roles today. And I know, Madam President, that you are proud of that as well. It is really a good day.