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House Clerk Cheryl Johnson to step down June 30

Johnson came to the role after stints on Capitol Hill and with Smithsonian

House Clerk Cheryl Johnson conducts a floor vote for Speaker of the House  on Jan. 3.
House Clerk Cheryl Johnson conducts a floor vote for Speaker of the House on Jan. 3. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Clerk Cheryl Johnson announced on Thursday that she plans to step down from her role as the chamber’s chief legislative official at the end of the month.

Johnson was sworn into the role in 2019, after being nominated by then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. She was renominated for the role at the beginning of the 118th Congress by Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

“It has been a distinct privilege to serve as clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives during three Congresses,” Johnson said from the House floor. She received a standing ovation from many members in the chamber.

Johnson was the 36th person to serve in the role, which is elected every two years when the House convenes for a new Congress based on nominations submitted by the majority and minority caucuses. The first House clerk, John Beckley, was elected on April 1, 1798, the day the House of Representatives convened with its first quorum. 

Johnson worked for nearly 10 years in the House, followed by 10 years at the Smithsonian Institution before becoming clerk. Most recently, she was director of the Smithsonian’s Office of Government Relations, working to build relationships between Smithsonian leadership and Congress. 

During her first stint on the Hill, she was the chief education and investigative counsel for the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. She also served as director and counsel for the House Administration Committee Libraries and Memorials subcommittee.

“Cheryl Johnson embodies commitment to public service,” Pelosi said in a statement after nominating her in 2018. “She has dedicated her career to defending and strengthening many of the most important and cherished institutions of our democracy, and we are thrilled that she will be returning to the House of Representatives, where she served with distinction and honor for many years.”

McCarthy swore in Kevin McCumber, Johnson’s deputy, as interim clerk.

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