Roger Addison

A native Washingtonian, Roger Addison witnessed many changes in the District of Columbia and at the Capitol during his more than three decades of service in the House of Representatives. From moving furniture, to working in the main office for the Clerk of the House, and overseeing financial disclosures, Addison’s career involved a variety of unique, behind-the-scenes responsibilities.

Featured Video

Early Financial Disclosures

Roger Addison provides an overview of processing financial disclosure forms in the days before electronic filing.
Roger Addison, Registration and Compliance Clerk, Office of the Clerk
Interview recorded May 29, 2019 Deed of Gift

Abstract & Transcript

Born and raised in Washington, DC, Roger Addison spent more than 30 years working for the U.S. House of Representatives. Addison’s family had a strong connection to the Capitol—his aunt, Janie Mae (Kelley) Galmon, mentored many relatives while she worked as a chef in the House Member’s Dining Room. Addison’s familial connection led to a job offer moving furniture for the House in 1988. This position laid the foundation for Addison’s long career supporting the work of the Office of the Clerk.

In this interview Addison recalls his childhood in the District. He fondly describes the tight-knit community in his neighborhood adorned with many “mom-and-pop” stores. He also speaks of the civil rights movement and riots in the capital, as well as the mentors he had growing up in the city. After meeting with Congressman Sonny Montgomery of Mississippi (an interview arranged by his aunt), Addison received a job as a laborer moving furniture in the Capitol complex. He recalls how he learned to read blueprints, the comradery he developed with his co-workers, and the intricate scheduling involved in moving furniture after elections before the beginning of a new Congress. As a young African-American employee, he remembers paying close attention to the careers of Black Members like John Lewis, Ron Dellums, and Walter Fauntroy.

Addison used his familiarity with the capital’s streets and his District hack license to get a job as a driver for the Clerk of the House. As one of two drivers he spent time on the road and in the Clerk’s main office. During this period he witnessed historic events like the shooting of two Capitol Police officers in July 1998 and the evacuation of the Capitol after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Addison also describes the changes to the Clerk’s Office when the Republicans took control of the House for the first time in 40 years in 1995. A few years later Addison moved to the Legislative Resource Center (LRC)—an office created in the aftermath of the party change—to take a job as a Public Information Specialist. He outlines the function of the LRC, his specific responsibilities, and his promotion to the position of Registration and Compliance Clerk before his retirement in 2019.

Biography

Roger Addison was born on March 6, 1956, in Washington, DC, to Ben Addison a contractor and painter, and Zipper Lena Johnson a domestic worker and retail manager. Addison attended public schools in Southeast Washington, DC, graduating from Eastern High School in 1974. Growing up in the nation’s capital he lived in a tight-knit, predominantly Black neighborhood with many family-owned businesses. Addison witnessed changes to the landscape of the city, including those brought about by the bourgeoning civil rights movement and protests of the 1960s. In 1982, he married Gwendolyn Brown. The couple had two children, Tina Marie and Roger Addison Jr., as well as an adopted daughter, Lashawn. While working on Capitol Hill, Addison met his second wife Cassandra, whom he married in 2005. Addison has three stepchildren from this union: Amorita, Bethany, and Jerry.

In the late 1970s Addison briefly held a job as a dishwasher in the Longworth House Office Building before earning his chauffer and taxi licenses in the District of Columbia. Influenced by his aunt and mentor, Janie Mae (Kelley) Galmon, who worked as a chef in the Members’ Dining Room, Addison followed her advice to seek employment at the House of Representatives. With the assistance of Galmon, he interviewed with Congressman Sonny Montgomery of Mississippi in 1988 and received a job moving furniture at the Capitol. Addison worked as a laborer for three years before accepting a new position as a driver for the Office of the Clerk. Addison’s professional experience driving in DC and his intimate knowledge of the District made him a natural fit for the job. From 1991 to 1998 he provided transportation for the Clerk and assisted with other official duties such as bringing documents to the White House and local government agencies.

In 1999, Addison became a Public Information Specialist in the Clerk’s Legislative Resource Center (LRC). While at the LRC, he assisted staff and the public by pulling materials from the Congressional Record and offering guidance and advice on researching bills. Addison moved to the Records and Registration section of the LRC in 2005 where he served as an Assistance Compliance Clerk. Here he worked with financial disclosure forms helping the LRC move from paper record keeping to electronic files made accessible to the public. Addison finished his 31-year career for the House as a Registration and Compliance Clerk, a position he held from 2012 until his retirement on May 2, 2019. Upon leaving the Clerk’s Office, Addison moved from Washington, DC, to Columbia, South Carolina, where he resides with his wife Cassandra.

Video

Early Role Models

Roger Addison speaks about the early role models who influenced his life.
Roger Addison, Registration and Compliance Clerk, Office of the Clerk
Interview recorded May 29, 2019 Deed of Gift

Janie Kelley

Roger Addison describes the role his aunt played in his career and helping other people in his family.
Roger Addison, Registration and Compliance Clerk, Office of the Clerk
Interview recorded May 29, 2019 Deed of Gift

"Make Me Proud"

Roger Addison remembers the role Representative Sonny Montgomery played in his early Hill career.
Roger Addison, Registration and Compliance Clerk, Office of the Clerk
Interview recorded May 29, 2019 Deed of Gift

"Beginning of My Career"

Roger Addison outlines some of the responsibilities he held when he moved furniture for the House.

Roger Addison, Registration and Compliance Clerk, Office of the Clerk
Interview recorded May 29, 2019 Deed of Gift

Making a Request

Roger Addison recalls the encouragement he received to pursue his career goals while working for the House.
Roger Addison, Registration and Compliance Clerk, Office of the Clerk
Interview recorded May 29, 2019 Deed of Gift

Preparing for a Move

Roger Addison explains the logistical side of helping Members of Congress move offices.
Roger Addison, Registration and Compliance Clerk, Office of the Clerk
Interview recorded May 29, 2019 Deed of Gift

New Opportunity

Roger Addison remembers learning of his new position working for the Clerk of the House.
Roger Addison, Registration and Compliance Clerk, Office of the Clerk
Interview recorded May 29, 2019 Deed of Gift

Remembering July 24, 1998

Roger Addison reflects on a personal encounter that took place on a tragic day at the Capitol.
Roger Addison, Registration and Compliance Clerk, Office of the Clerk
Interview recorded May 29, 2019 Deed of Gift

"We Didn't Know What to Do"

Roger Addison recalls the difficulties everyone faced after evacuating the Capitol on September 11, 2001.
Roger Addison, Registration and Compliance Clerk, Office of the Clerk
Interview recorded May 29, 2019 Deed of Gift

Early Financial Disclosures

Roger Addison provides an overview of processing financial disclosure forms in the days before electronic filing.
Roger Addison, Registration and Compliance Clerk, Office of the Clerk
Interview recorded May 29, 2019 Deed of Gift

Images & Artifacts

Roger Addison
<i>Roger Addison</i>/tiles/non-collection/o/oh_addison_office.xml
Roger Addison worked for the House for 31 years.
Image courtesy of Roger Addison, provided by the Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives
Statue of Freedom
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Roger Addison and his colleague Nathaniel Tolsen visited the statue of Freedom, which usually sits atop the Capitol Dome, after it was lowered onto the East Front for restoration in 1993. Addison and Tolsen worked as driver's for the Office of the Clerk.
Image courtesy of Roger Addison, provided by the Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives
Capitol Police
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Roger Addison posed with Capitol Police Officers.
Image courtesy of Roger Addison, provided by the Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives
Capitol Hill after September 11, 2001
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Roger Addison visited the makeshift memorial on the Capitol grounds after the terrorists attacks on September 11, 2001.
Image courtesy of Roger Addison, provided by the Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives
Clerks of the House
<i>Clerks of the House</i>/tiles/non-collection/o/oh_addison_clerks.xml
Roger Addison and his colleague Nathaniel Tolson (third from left) posed with Clerk Jeff Trandahl (left) and Former Clerk Donn Anderson (right) in 1999.
Image courtesy of Roger Addison, provided by the Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives
Congressman Clyburn
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Roger Addison met with House Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina.
Image courtesy of Roger Addison, provided by the Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives
Retirement Party
<i>Retirement Party</i>/tiles/non-collection/o/oh_addison_retirement.xml
Roger Addison spoke to his colleagues at his retirement party in 2019.
Image courtesy of the Office of Communication, Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives.