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Conference Secretaries

Chapter 1: Conference Secretaries
Chapter 2: Republican Conference Secretaries
Chapter 3: Democratic Conference Secretaries

Conference Secretaries

Members of each political party convene in private meetings known as party conferences (or party caucuses) to elect floor leaders, make committee assignments, and set legislative agendas. Each party elects a Conference Secretary who is responsible for keeping the minutes.  Edward Carmack of Tennessee became the first Democratic Conference Secretary in 1903, and the Republicans elected their first Conference Secretary, Charles Curtis of Kansas, in 1911.  

Republican Conference Secretaries

Charles Curtis (KS)
Term: 1911-1913

William S. Kenyon (IA)
Term: 1913-1915

James W. Wadsworth, Jr. (NY)
Term: 1915-1927

Frederick Hale (ME)
Term: 1927-1940

Wallace H. White, Jr. (ME)
Term: 1940-1944

Harold H. Burton (OH)
Term: 1944-1945

J. Chandler Gurney (SD)
Term: 1945-1946

Milton R. Young (ND)
Term: 1946-1971

Norris Cotton (NH)
Term: 1971-1972

Wallace F. Bennett (UT)
Term: 1973-1974

Robert T. Stafford (VT)
Term: 1976-1976

Clifford P. Hansen (WY)
Term: 1977-1978

E.J. "Jake" Garn (UT)
Term: 1979-1985

William Thad Cochran (MS)
Term: 1985-1991

Robert W. Kasten, Jr. (WI)
Term: 1991-1993

Trent Lott (MS)
Term: 1993-1995

Connie Mack (FL)
Term: 1995-1997

Paul Coverdell (GA)
Term: 1997-2000

Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX)
Term: 2001-2007

John Cornyn (TX)
Term: 2007-present

Note: With election of Kay Bailey Hutchison, the position became known as Republican Conference Vice-Chair.


Democratic Conference Secretaries

Edward W. Carmack (TN)
Term: 1903-1907

Robert L. Owen (OK)
Term: 1907-1911

William E. Chilton (WV)
Term: 1911-1913

Willard Saulsbury (DE)
Term: 1913-1916

Key Pittman (NV)
Term: 1916-1917
Note: Served as acting secretary.

William King (UT)
Term: 1917-1927

Hugo Black (AL)
Term: 1927-1937

Joshua B. Lee (OK)
Term: 1937-1942

Francis T. Maloney (CT)
Term: 1943-1945

Brien McMahon (CT)
Term: 1945-1952

Thomas Hennings (MO)
Term: 1953-1960

George Smathers (FL)
Term: 1960-1966

Robert C. Byrd (WV)
Term: 1967-1971

Frank Moss (UT)
Term: 1971-1976

Daniel Inouye (HI)
Term: 1977-1989

David Pryor (AR)
Term: 1989-1995

Barbara A. Mikulski (MD)
Term: 1995-2005

Debbie Stabenow (MI)
Term: 2005-2007

Patty Murray (WA)
Term: 2007-present


Historical information provided by the Senate Historical Office.

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