Sonceria “Ann” Berry was sworn in Monday as the 35th secretary of the Senate, making history as the first African American to serve in a position that dates back to the 18th Century.
The secretary of the Senate oversees the day-to-day operations of the United States Senate. The first secretary was chosen on April 8, 1789, two days after the Senate achieved its first quorum for business. The responsibilities of the secretary include legislative, financial and administrative functions.
“I have had the privilege of working in the U.S. Senate for 40 years serving the American people,” Berry said in a statement. “I am humbled by this opportunity to continue that service as secretary of the Senate. 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 is a native of Birmingham, Alabama who earned her Bachelor’s degree in education from the University of North Alabama.
She most recently served as Senator Patrick Leahy’s (D-VT) deputy chief of staff, but has worked with multiple senators. Berry was tapped to set up former Senator Doug Jones’s (D-AL) office after the Alabama special election in 2017.
“I am ecstatic about the historic nomination of Ann Berry to be the new secretary of the Senate,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “This is a vital role that not only overseas key personnel, but also aids in the institution’s overall effectiveness. I am confident that Ann’s professional experience will ensure a successful tenure as she continues to serve the institution of the Senate.”