UI graduate to become US House Parliamentarian


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A University of Iowa graduate will soon be U.S. House of Representatives' parliamentarian.
House Speaker John Boehner announced Tuesday that Tom Wickham — who graduated from the UI in 1990 and from the UI College of Law in 1994 — will assume the position of parliamentarian for the House at the end of the month.

Wickham will succeed John Sullivan, the parliamentarian of almost eight years, who will retire at age 60.

Wickham has served as deputy parliamentarian since 2005. Before that, he was an assistant parliamentarian for 10 years.

"Tom Wickham, in addition to being a master of the House's rules and traditions, has the sound judgment and steady temperament required to serve as parliamentarian," Boehner said in a press release. "Tom has earned the respect of lawmakers and staff on both sides of the aisle, and I have every confidence in him."

Wickham declined to comment on his new appointment to The Daily Iowan.

The House parliamentarian advises representatives on proper meeting procedures during House meetings, working for both Democrats and Republicans.

"The parliamentarian is someone who understands the rules for a particular body," said Tim Hagle, a UI associate professor of political science. "They let them know when things can be voted on or when a motion may take place."

Hagle said it's not uncommon for UI grads to get jobs in Washington, D.C.

"Because of Iowa being the first in the nation's caucuses, a lot of our students get involved in politics later on," he said.

Hagle said UI students have gone on to become members of the House staff and have worked on political campaigns.

Frederick Boehmke, a UI political-science associate professor, said Wickham gave a lecture for faculty and graduate students last year on the UI campus.

Wickham was born in Dubuque in 1968 and raised in nearby Epworth by parents Thomas Wickham and Brenda Sagers. He graduated from Western Dubuque High School in 1987 and went on to earn a B.A. as a political-science major and Spanish minor from the UI. During law school, he was managing editor for the Iowa Law Review from 1993-94. He is also a member of the Iowa State Bar Association.

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