Floor Speech on Retirement of House Reading Clerk Joe Novotny

April 15, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives in recognition of the service of Joe Novotny, House Reading Clerk.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize the outstanding service of Reading Clerk of the United States House of Representatives, Joe Novotny, as he prepares for his retirement.  I ask Unanimous Consent to speak out of turn. 

Speaker Pro Tempore.  Without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized. 

Speaker Pelosi.  Mr. Speaker, as Reading Clerk, Joe Novotny has served as the voice of the House, and his trusted leadership and valued presence on this Floor will be missed by Members and staff on both sides of the aisle.  Joe Novotny has dedicated his entire career to the People's House.  First serving as a Congressional page at age sixteen, Joe returned to the House after college, where he worked for the House Education and Labor Committee for fifteen years, rising to become Chief Clerk. 

His service was respected by all, including my friend, Chairman George Miller, who lauded Joe as, ‘An incredibly valuable asset to my staff [whose] unparalleled integrity and dedication helped our committee advance major policies that are making a difference in the lives of working families.’  And Mr. Speaker, I just learned from our colleague, Mr. Kildee – Dan Kildee – that his uncle, Dale Kildee, a leading member of the Education and Labor Committee, was also a good friend and benefited from the service and leadership of Joe Novotny. 

In 2010, it was my great and proud honor as Speaker of the House to name Joe Novotny Reading Clerk, the first openly gay man to hold this position.  I'm proud of that.  His historic service has made our Congress more inclusive, more diverse and representative of the people we serve.  His historic service has made our Congress again – one that he has served as a child of immigrants.  Novotny's ascendance in the halls of the U.S. Capitol is, as he has proudly said, the story of the American dream. 

As Reading Clerk, Novotny has been vital in engaging the people of our country with the democracy of our country.  Each day, he ensures the measures debated in this House are clearly articulated not only to Members but to the American people and to people around the world. 

His commitment in making the Congress more accessible and efficient has been particularly important during this time of pandemic and as our institution has adjusted to remote and virtual operations.  Since day one, Joe has brought his steady presence, professionalism and institutional expertise to the House Floor, and in doing so he has helped advance the ability of the People's House to do the people's work. 

I'm taking this additional time, Mr. Speaker, because so many Members have said – told me what Joe means to them, and I wanted to express some of that in my remarks.  While Joe Novotny's service will be missed, his great love for the House and his dedication to our democracy stand as an inspiration for all who will follow in the path that he has blazed. 

On behalf of the United States House of Representatives, I wish him the best in his next stages of his journey, and on behalf of the House, I thank Joe for his patriotic service. 

Thank you, Joe Novotny.