Honoring Joe W. Strickland on His Retirement as Chief Reporter of Debatesby Representative John A. Boehner
Posted on 2015-01-02
in the house of representatives
Friday, January 2, 2015
Mr. BOEHNER. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor Joe W. Strickland,
the Chief Reporter of Debates, for his contributions to the House of
Representatives during almost 22 years of service.
The House has employed Official Reporters of Debates since 1873, when the Speaker of the House took control of the privately-run Congressional Globe and the verbatim proceedings of events were published as the Congressional Record--as they still are today.
It was a five-man operation back then, and the Reporters were praised in the New York Tribune for their ``intimate knowledge of the precedents and practice of the House, and of the national events, great and small, which have passed in close review before their eyes.'' Joe follows in that long tradition, noted in the Tribune, of ``superior ability'' and ``efficiency,'' though the office is now under the supervision of the Clerk of the House and has grown to 43 people. Joe has worked diligently to achieve the daunting task of maintaining an accurate record not only of House Floor proceedings but of House Committee work, as well. In addition to his managerial responsibilities, he has been front and center, reporting seven State of the Union speeches and several Joint Meetings to receive messages from foreign heads of state, such as Afghan President Hamid Karzai and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Joe was born in central Texas and graduated from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene with a degree in music. A tenor, he regularly toured with an all-male quartet and performed at conventions and competitions from Moscow to Washington, DC, including engagements at the White House.
After college, Joe co-owned a travel and tour company and pursued several other passions before turning his sights on court reporting. Joe attended court reporting school outside of Dallas, and he quickly earned a position as a real-time captionist for a television station. A mere three years later, his skills won him a place as an Official Reporter of Debates for the U.S. House of Representatives, reporting both Committee and Floor debates. The Clerk of the House promoted Joe to Deputy Chief of the office in 2000, and he became Chief Reporter of Debates in 2005.
Joe is recognized by the National Court Reporters Association as a Registered Professional Reporter, a Certified Realtime Reporter, and a Certified Communication Access Realtime Translation provider-- qualifications that place him among the elite in court reporting.
Mr. Speaker, the work of the Official Reporters of Debates has been an essential part of House operations for more than 140 years, and while the technology has changed, the dedication of the Reporters, like Joe, has not. We are sad to lose such a valuable member of the House Clerk's team, but we wish him and his family the very best during a long and happy retirement.