Peters Urges Senate to Confirm Archivist Nominee

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, convened a hearing where he urged the Senate to confirm Dr. Colleen Shogan as Archivist of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The Committee heard directly from Shogan on how she plans to modernize NARA and address significant challenges – including a backlog of requests from veterans for documents they require to access critical benefits. The hearing also examined Shogan’s qualifications, discussed her commitment to transparency and highlighted her extensive service in nonpartisan and nonpolitical roles.

“Throughout your career, you have served in several nonpartisan leadership positions with dedication and integrity. And during last year’s nomination hearing, you demonstrated keen judgement, a deep understanding of the importance of the Archivist role, and a firm commitment to nonpartisanship and transparency,” said Senator Peters during his opening statement.

Peters continued: “Assuring the full and accurate preservation of our nation’s history is a monumental task, and requires an independent, nonpartisan leader dedicated to serving the American public. I am confident that Dr. Shogan is the right choice to serve as the next National Archivist.”

To watch video of Senator Peters’ opening remarks, click here. For text of Peters’ opening remarks, as prepared, click here.

To watch video of Senator Peters’ questions and closing, click here.

At the hearing, Shogan discussed how her service in nonpolitical roles has prepared her for the role of Archivist. Peters also asked about what steps she will take to ensure NARA can eliminate a backlog of over 300,000 requests for military service records. The Committee also heard how Shogan plans to lead NARA’s efforts to digitize records across the federal government so they are easily accessible to the public. During the hearing, Peters also highlighted legislation he has been working on – and building bipartisan support for – to modernize federal recordkeeping, strengthen enforcement of the Presidential and Federal Records Acts,and ensure that future administrations are appropriately managing federal records.

Below are statements of support from nonpartisan organizations that support Dr. Shogan’s nomination:

“We are confident that Dr. Shogan can both provide the vision and leadership necessary to guide the Archives in its task of preserving federal records held in trust for the public, and act with dedication and integrity in continuing to ensure public access to those records,” wrote the American Historical Association. “Dr. Shogan’s senior-level positions in Washington institutions have spanned multiple presidential administrations and Congresses, and she has demonstrated her commitment to serving the public with nonpartisan integrity.”

“Her extensive public service has spanned Congresses and presidential administrations. She has a stellar record of leadership in government and would be an excellent steward of the National Archives and Records Administration,” wrote the American Political Science Association. “She has a deep understanding of the importance of the National Archives to our democracy as it supports an informed citizenry today and maintains critical documents that will tell the story of this country tomorrow. Her experience at the Library of Congress and Congressional Research Service has illustrated her ability to serve the public in institutions with renowned legacies of integrity and non-partisanship.”

“Her diverse professional experience in libraries, academia, and government and nonprofit institutions is an asset for leading NARA by strengthening its core functions as the nation’s administrator of government records law and contributing to public dialogue on our constitutional democracy,” wrote the Council of State Archivists. “CoSA heartily supports Dr. Shogan’s confirmation and is optimistic about the future of NARA under her leadership.”

“The experience of the National Trust is that Dr. Shogan brings an exemplary record of executive leadership and nonpartisan government service. She performs her role capably with dedication and integrity. Moreover, Dr. Shogan’s qualifications to serve as Archivist of the United States are firmly established,” wrote the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Given her accomplished record and experience, we have every confidence that Dr. Shogan will perform exceptionally well as the nation’s Archivist and will adeptly carry out NARA’s apolitical mission which includes ensuring adequate documentation of the government’s actions and decisions as well as preserving the cultural heritage and historical memory of government for the best interests of all citizens.”