The Senate elected Drew Willison its sergeant-at-arms by unanimous consent on Monday afternoon, making him the 39th person to hold the post in the history of the chamber.
“The importance of this appointment cannot be overstated,” said Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. “While senators and their staffs come and go, the Office of Sergeant-at-Arms provides much-needed stability to support this great institution.”
Reid said retired Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance W. Gainer left behind “big shoes to fill,” but he knew Willison was up to the task.
Willison first came to Capitol Hill in 1997, to assist Reid’s work on the Environment and Public Works Committee, and eventually earned a spot as staff director for the Appropriations Energy-Water Subcommittee.
“Drew did not seek this position, it has come to him because of his good work,” Reid said of the SAA post, promising Willison would thrive in the nonpartisan office because of his work ethic.
“He is really a talented man, and he’s a very, very quick learner,” he continued. “Everyone who’s worked with him over the years came to the realization very quickly. Tell him what you want him to do, he did it with a smile. He did it well and he did it right.”
Willison was appointed Gainer’s deputy in 2007 and served there for five years with a brief foray into the nonprofit world.
Reid called him “Chief Gainer’s right-hand man — and that is an understatement.”