Institute of Politics

Laura Dove

Former Senate Secretary for the Majority

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  • Seminars

    Seminar Series: "View From the Senate Floor: Cooling Saucer or Legislative Graveyard?"


Laura Dove has devoted decades of service to the United States Senate, from her appointment as a Senate page in the 1980s to election as the body’s Secretary for the Majority. An officer of the Senate, Ms. Dove was nominated by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, elected unanimously by Republican Conference and ratified by the full Senate from 2013 until her retirement in 2020.

As party secretary, Ms. Dove was responsible for forging consensus among Republican and Democratic Senators to move legislative and executive matters across the floor of the Senate, confirming Presidential nominations and treaty documents, coordinating activities with the minority, House of Representatives and Executive Branch.

When Ms. Dove retired from Senate service in 2020, she joined Ford Motor Company, where she led federal government relations for the Fortune 50 company. She also served as Chair of the Executive Committee of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation and the Vice Chair of the Highway Users Foundation during that time.

Ms. Dove holds a Master’s degree from the University of Virginia and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and has lectured at Brown University, Stanford, and George Washington on the role and procedures of the Senate.

She lives in Alexandria, Virginia with her husband, Dan Solomon and their two children.


"View From the Senate Floor: Cooling Saucer or Legislative Graveyard?"

Type “dysfunctional Senate” into a search box, and you will get thousands of hits. From well-paid pundits to armchair analysts, many Americans believe that the United States Senate is archaic, gridlocked and broken. Recent images of protestors screaming from the galleries to protest the Kavanaugh confirmation vote and surreal footage of violent insurrectionists climbing over the presiding officer’s desk to “stop the steal” on January 6 have underscored the Senate’s central place in the rawest current political conflicts. Those who study the Congressional process (and, frequently, those serving in the Senate who are attempting to slow things down...) tend to quote George Washington’s words on the role of the U.S Senate. When Thomas Jefferson asked Washington why the delegates to the Constitutional Convention had created a Senate, Washington reportedly asked, "Why did you pour that coffee into your saucer?" Jefferson replied, "To cool it.” "Even so," responded Washington, "we pour legislation into the senatorial saucer to cool it." How did we get from cooling saucer to a perceived threat to democracy? Is the United States Senate the root of partisan gridlock in Washington? Are its rules an impediment to good government or a needed check on the polarized electorate and the rapid pivots of the House of Representatives?

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