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Conference Secretaries

Senate Chamber Map
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 
Name (state) Term
Curtis, Charles (KS) 1911-1913
Kenyon, William S. (IA) 1913-1915
Wadsworth, James W. Jr. (NY) 1915-1927
Hale, Frederick (ME) 1927-1940
White, Wallace H. Jr. (ME) 1940-1944
Burton, Harold H. (OH) 1944-1945
Gurney, J. Chandler (SD) 1945-1946
Young, Milton R. (ND) 1946-1971
Cotton, Norris (NH) 1971-1972
Bennett, Wallace F. (UT) 1973-1974
Stafford, Robert T. (VT) 1976-1976
Hansen, Clifford P. (WY) 1977-1978
Garn, E.J. "Jake" (UT) 1979-1985
Cochran, William Thad (MS) 1985-1991
Kasten, Robert W. Jr. (WI) 1991-1993
Lott, Trent (MS) 1993-1995
Mack, Connie (FL) 1995-1997
Coverdell, Paul (GA) 1997-2000
Hutchison, Kay Bailey (TX) 2001-20071
Cornyn, John (TX) 2007-2009
Thune, John (SD) 2009-June 2009
Murkowski, Lisa (AK) June 2009- Spetember 17, 2010
Barrasso, John (WY) September 22, 2010-2012
Blunt, Roy (MO) 2012-2019
Ernst, Joni (IA) 2019-

1Note:With election of Kay Bailey Hutchison, the position became known as Republican Conference Vice-Chair.


Democratic Conference Secretaries 
Senator (state) Term
Carmack, Edward W. (TN) 1903-1907
Owen, Robert L. (OK) 1907-1911
Chilton, William E. (WV) 1911-1913
Saulsbury, Willard (DE) 1913-1916
Pittman, Key (NV) 1916-19171
King, William (UT) 1917-1927
Black, Hugo (AL) 1927-1937
Lee, Joshua B. (OK) 1937-1942
Maloney, Francis T. (CT) 1943-1945
McMahon, Brien (CT) 1945-1952
Hennings, Thomas (MO) 1953-1960
Smathers, George (FL) 1960-1966
Byrd, Robert C. (WV) 1967-1971
Moss, Frank (UT) 1971-1976
Inouye, Daniel (HI) 1977-1989
Pryor, David (AR) 1989-1995
Mikulski, Barbara A. (MD) 1995-2005
Stabenow, Debbie (MI) 2005-2007
Murray, Patty (WA) 2007-2017
Baldwin, Tammy (WI) 2017-present

1Note: Served as acting secretary.

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