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Bio: Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea made history when she was sworn in on January 6, 2015, becoming the first Hispanic elected to statewide office in New England. She has rapidly emerged on the national scene as a leader who is taking on some of the toughest issues and getting results, leading the way for other states across the country.
In recognition of her extraordinary leadership and achievements, she has been named Regional Vice President for the National Association of Secretaries of State, and is an Aspen Rodel Fellow and a Hunt Kean Fellow. She serves as a member of the Advisory Board of Access Democracy and Salve Regina University. She has also served as Vice Chair for the 2016 Democratic National Convention Platform Committee and Co-Chair of the National Association of Secretaries of States Voter Participation and Business Services Committees.
Originally from Puerto Rico, Gorbea is a graduate of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs and holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University. She and her husband, Steve D’Hondt, and their three daughters live in North Kingstown.
Bio: As California’s Secretary of State, Alex Padilla’s priorities are protecting voting rights, engaging more citizens to register and turn out to vote and increasing transparency around campaigns. Alex Padilla made history in 2015 when he was elected to serve as California’s first Latino Secretary of State. In his 15 years in elected office, Alex Padilla built a reputation for working across party lines to get things done. As State Senator, he passed more than 80 bills signed into law by both Democratic and Republican governors. Padilla previously served as President of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO).
Bio: Jim Condos, Vermont’s 38th Secretary of State, has led the transformation of the Secretary of State’s office from an inefficient, manual, paper-driven process to an accessible, productive and acclaimed web-based presence with over 95% of office transactions being completed on-line.
Secretary Condos is a strong supporter of protecting voters rights and has led the efforts to introduce: election night reporting, online voter registration, Election Day Registration as well as successfully implementing automatic voter registration (the 4th state in the nation).
He continues to work towards transparency in government by successfully working the VT Legislature to improve open meeting laws, public records access and creation of an ethics commission.
Bio: As Connecticut’s 73rd Secretary of the State, Denise W. Merrill, led efforts to introduce early voting, online voter registration, Election Day Registration as well as successfully automating the state’s motor-voter system. Prior to her election as Secretary of the State, Merrill served as State Representative from the 54th General Assembly District for 17 years and was instrumental in passing one of the nation’s strongest campaign finance program’s in the country.