I. In Focus This Week
Meet the Class of 2015
Fourteen new statewide chief elections officials take the helm
With the start of the New Year, more than a dozen statewide chief elections officials began taking office.
While most of the newly elected elections chiefs have already been sworn in and are hard at work, there are a couple still awaiting official swearing-in ceremonies and will be installed into office before the end of the month.
Here is a brief look at each new statewide elections chief and how to get in touch with them either on social media or otherwise.
John Merrill (R) will be sworn into office on January 19. Merrill, a former Democrat served as director of community relations and education for the Tuscaloosa County board of education before being elected to the Alabama House in 2010.
Byron Mallott (D) was sworn into office on December 1, 2014 as the Frontier State’s chief elections official. Mallott was first elected to office at the ripe age of 22. He first served as mayor of Yakutat and more recently as mayor of Juneau. Mallott, who is of Tlingit heritage, has also served as president of the Alaska Federation of Natives.
Michele Reagan (R) was sworn into office on January 5, 2015. A native of Illinois, Reagan moved to Arizona in 1991 and opened her own business. She served in both houses of the state Legislature and was on the chair of the commerce committee in the House and chair of the economic development and jobs creation committee in the Senate.
Alex Padilla (D) was sworn in as California’s newest secretary of state on January 5, 2015. Before being elected to statewide office as secretary, Padilla served in the Senate from 2006-2014. During his tenure in the Senate, Padilla introduced several pieces of elections legislation. Since taking office, he has spoken often about improving the technology surrounding elections and has started an online campaign to gather ideas about improving turnout (see Tech Thursday).
Wayne Williams, (R) former El Paso County clerk was sworn into office just this week. Williams was elected El Paso County clerk and recorder in 2010. In 2012 the National Association of Secretaries of state presented him with the Medallion Award for his efforts during the fire-plagued primary in 2012. Although just the early days in office, Williams has said he will make voter ID a priority on his agenda as secretary of state.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ColoradoSoSWebsite: http://www.sos.state.co.us/
Lawerence Denney (R) was sworn into office on January 9, 2015, becoming Idaho’s first new secretary of state in decades. Before becoming secretary, Denney was a member of the state Legislature and served as assistant majority leader and majority leader.
Paul Pate (R) will be sworn in as the 32nd Iowa secretary of state. Before being elected secretary, Pate was a business owner and two-term mayor of Cedar Rapids. He also served in the Iowa Senate. In his early days in office, Pate has shown a commitment to implementing online voter registration The Hawkeye State.
Steve Simon (DFL) was sworn into office on January 5, 2015 as the 22nd secretary of state. Before his election to secretary of state, Simon served in the Minnesota House of Represented. He was first elected in 2004 at the age of 35. During his inaugural speech, Simon stressed the importance of expanding voting rights and opportunities.
Barbara Cegavske (R) was sworn into office on January 5, 2015. She was first elected to statewide office in 1996, representing Clark County for three terms. Following her stint in the Assembly, she then ran for Senate where she served three terms. In her early days in office Cegavske has indicated her support for a voter photo ID law in Nevada.
Twitter: @VoteBarbara and @NVSOS
Pedro Cortes will once again take office as Pennsylvania’s secretary of state when he is sworn in on January 20. Cortes previously served as secretary of state under Governor Ed Rendell from 2003 to 2010. Cortes resigned in 2010 to become executive vice president of Everyone Counts.
Nellie Gorbea (D) is the first Latina elected to statewide office in the Northeast. She was sworn in as Rhode Island’s secretary of state on January 6, 2015. Before running for statewide office, Gorbea served as deputy secretary of state from 2002 5o 2006. During her time as deputy, Gorbea worked to centralize the state’s voter registration system.
Twitter: @RISecState and @NellieGorbea
Shantel Krebs was sworn in about a week before the other statewide officials so she and her team could hit the ground running when the legislative session kicked off. Before running for secretary, Krebs was a business owner and served in the state Legislature for a decade with six years in the House and four in the Senate. Krebs has already put forth her legislative agenda for the year that includes changing the way petitions are circulated and allowing the secretary’s office to audit petition signatures.
Carlos Cascos will be sworn in as Texas secretary of state on January 20. Before being tapped by incoming Gov. Gregg Abbott, Cascos was a Cameron County judge. Cascos is a certified public accountant and before becoming a county judge in 2006 served for 12 years on the Texas Public Safety Commission. Cascos was born in Matamoros, Mexico and became a U.S. citizen when still a child.
Ed Murray was sworn in as Wyoming’s 21st secretary of state on January 5, 2015. Before being elected to office, Murray worked in the private sector for 30 years. This is his first stint as an elected official.
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