TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Guarding the Kansas Senate is not an easy job. The man in charge of the group tasked with that duty is the Sergeant at Arms.
“Our job is a number of things,” said Nick Nicolay, Sergeant at Arms for the Kansas Senate. “Just to maintain order so they can conduct their business in an orderly fashion.”
On the surface, Sergeant at Arms is an honored position appointed by the Senate President. But duties run a lot deeper.
“It’s critical to an organized debate. It’s critical to safety. He really, Nick has his handle on not only on all the members of my Senate, but our staff and then he also has to monitor who’s viewing us from the outside,” explained Republican Senate President Susan Wagle of Wichita.
It starts with making sure people follow the many rules for when the senate is in session. From not being disruptive.
“If there’s something that isn’t right, we’re notified immediately and we do something about it,” he said.
To wrangling senators.
“We have had times when you’ve had to untangle some messes,” Wagle told Nicolay.
“Well, sure, but most all the time it’s been very pleasant. Because we do it in a discreet, all of our people, are all very discreet in what they’re required to tell people if they get out of line,” he responded.
He even plays tour guide, showing off some hidden treasures.
Nicolay's service to the state started as a House page in the 1940s, when his father was a representative. He later spent 13 years as a pilot and trooper for the Kansas Highway Patrol, before moving to the private sector. Retirement brought him back under the dome, in this role he takes very seriously.
“We’re trained to keep our eye open and watch for anything. We’re trained to keep our eyes moving all the time,” Nicolay explained.
But if you catch him in a moment standing still, you'll realize how special he is.”
“We usually have a cup of coffee together before we get the session stared. There’s a lot of just friendship built as well,” said Senate Majority Leader, Republican Senator Jim Denning of Overland Park.
“He’s a wonderful person and we’ve very thankful he could come back next year,” Wagle added.
“This is probably the most pleasant enforcement position a person can find,” said Nicolay.
He says he plans to remain Senate Sergeant at Arms for as long as his health allows.