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|Alma mater||Georgetown University|
|Title||Reading Clerk Of the U.S. House of Representatives|
Paul Hays is a former Reading Clerk of the United States House of Representatives, a face familiar to viewers of C-SPAN, the network which covers House proceedings. The reading clerk reads bills, motions, and other papers before the House and keeps track of changes to legislation made on the floor. During the vote for Speaker at the beginning of each Congress, or when the electronic voting system fails, the clerk calls the roll of members for voting viva voce. Hays joined the House in 1966 and became Republican reading clerk in 1988 at the nomination of Minority Leader Robert H. Michel of Illinois. Bald and bespectacled, he read the articles of impeachment laid against President Bill Clinton in 1998.
His parents met while at George Washington University, his father a native of Mississippi, and his mother a transplant from Kansas. Paul Hays was born in Washington D.C. Hays started his career in Washington as a Supreme Court Page. He attended the Capitol Page School while he was a Page. Hays's aunt taught at the Capitol Page School for many years. Hays's Democratic counterpart was Mary Kevin Niland, who remained a reading clerk until 2008.
Paul Hays retired as Reading Clerk on April 30, 2007. As the House met only in a pro forma session that day, the last day Hays actually assisted in legislative business was April 26.
As Hays himself put it after becoming a graveyard aficionado in 2010 with some 40,000+ findagrave memorials to his credit, "I'm a native of Washington, DC, and have lived here most of my life. My parents met while at George Washington University, my father a Mississippi native, and mother a transplanted Kansan. I graduated from the Capitol Page School after four years as a Supreme Court page, then went to Georgetown, and while at GU began a 41-year career working in the House of Representatives. From 1988 until retiring in 2007 I was the House Reading Clerk, or announcer."
Hays goes on to say, "Like my father and grandfather, I'm a Mason. I'm also active in the Sons of the American Revolution, belong to a few other lineage societies, and believe it worthwhile to preserve genealogical data found in cemeteries for future generations. I've devoted considerable time in particular to the graveyards of Lamar County, Alabama, where my paternal grandparents were born; Arlington National Cemetery, four miles from my home; and Congressional Cemetery, a National Historic Landmark eight blocks away, of which my wife was Executive Director 2008-2012."
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