After two decades, the House of Delegates has a new clerk.
Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Cynthia Kinser sworn in G. Paul Nardo, longtime aide to House Speaker Bill Howell (R), late Thursday after he was unanimously elected by the 100-member body.
Last month, the Republican majority backed Nardo as clerk of the House of Delegates and Keeper of the Rolls of the Commonwealth, paving the way for full chamber’s vote Thursday during a special session on congressional redistricting.
Nardo, 45, replaced Bruce Jamerson, who had been clerk for 20 years and died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound April 25.
The Virginia State Police concluded its investigation into Jamerson’s death Wednesday, determining he used a 32-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver. The gun, which had been passed from clerk to clerk since the 1940s, will be destroyed.
Nardo immediately took his spot beneath Howell after being sworn in. He was greeted with hoots and hollers from delegates and cheers from the audience.
“As a student and lover of history, being given the opportunity to serve an institution that was the model for representative government in the New World is a privilege for which I am extremely grateful,” Nardo said.
Nardo had worked as chief of staff for Howell since 2002. He previously worked for former Republican Governor George Allen and for the State Council of Higher Education.
He was nominated by House Majority Leader Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) and seconded by Del. Kenneth C. Alexander (D-Norfolk).
“Paul intends to continue the tradition of the Clerk’s Office being a nonpartisan one,’’ Alexander said. “The clerk’s office is a well-run and successful organization with many accomplished professionals. Paul will keep it that way.”
As a nonpartisan employee of the legislature, Nardo will oversee a staff of 30 and an annual budget of $21 million. He is responsible for tracking and organizing thousands of bills filed by the House. During hours-long floor sessions, the clerk stands just beneath the House speaker, reading aloud bill numbers and votes.
“Through years of public service, Paul has earned the trust and respect of elected and appointed officials from both political parties and all branches of state government,’’ Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said in a statement. “He is a consummate professional, has a deep respect for the history and institution of the House of Delegates, and loves the Commonwealth of Virginia.”