Republican Congressman Patrick McHenry, R-NC, is the interim speaker of the United States House of Representatives. It follows the historic GOP vote Tuesday afternoon to remove House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-CA. The members voted to remove McCarthy by a vote of 216-210, with all Democrats present joining eight hard-line conservatives.

McHenry has been Speaker Pro Tempore since January, an appointment only known to a few people, kept secret until a speaker cannot fulfill his or her duties. He now controls the chamber as members determine their next steps. This is the first time a U.S. House speaker has been removed from power in history.

In January of 2023, McHenry nominated McCarthy for speaker in the 14th round after multiple chamber votes failed to produce a majority for McCarthy. He ultimately secured the gavel in the chamber in the 15th vote, with 216 House members voting for him.

According to a report from POLITICO, among McHenry’s first actions as speaker, he notified the office of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, that she must vacate a hideaway office that she’s occupied since relinquishing the gavel.

This is the second time McHenry has been called to step in suddenly; he was deputy whip to Republican Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana. In 2017, Scalise was shot by a gunman targeting Republicans during the GOP practice for the annual Congressional Baseball Game. McHenry stepped in as interim whip during his recovery.

A key negotiator among Republicans, McHenry’s political stardom has been on the rise in recent years. He was named chair of the influential House Financial Services Committee in December following the 2022 election. He has served on the committee since he was first elected in 2005.

McHenry, 46, was born and raised in Gastonia and graduated from Ashbrook High School. McHenry earned a bachelor’s degree in History from Belmont Abbey College. He currently lives in Denver, North Carolina, with his wife, Giulia, and their three children.

McHenry represents a district just west of Charlotte around Gastonia. He also served one term in the N.C. House from 2003 to 2005.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated on October 4, 2023