Tennessee secretary of state inducted as new president of national organization

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August 14, 2013


By Maresa Strano

NASHVILLE, Tennessee: Tre Hargett, Tennessee's secretary of state since 2009, has been elected by his colleagues across the country to serve as president of the National Association of Secretaries of State for the 2013-2014 cycle. He was voted into the position at a conference held in Anchorage, Alaska, late last month.[1] Hargett's subsequent induction closed out the state's 30 year dry spell in the leadership post. The organization serves "as a forum where members can learn from each other how best to provide the services their offices are charged with delivering to the public," most common among them being the management of elections, improving voter awareness, and consumer protection. In a statement given by Hargett following his July election, he emphasized his belief that "Now more than ever, citizens are looking for collaborative bipartisan leadership from their state officials."[2]

Hargett was elected in 2009 by the Tennessee General Assembly to serve as the 37th Tennessee Secretary of State. He is the current president of the National Association of Secretaries of State.[3] Before being elected president in July 2013, he served as the organization's treasurer. He is also on the board of directors of the American Council of Young Political Leaders.

Since becoming a member of NASS, Hargett has been an active force within the organization with respect to civil education campaigns, and, most prominently, identity theft prevention. He was instrumental in the foundation of the Business Identity Theft Task Force, which is composed of 20 NASS members and now claims credit for www.BusinessIDTheft.org, a website aimed at helping business owners protect their businesses against identify theft. His efforts led to his election as NASS treasurer in 2012.[2]

Secretary of State has historically been a low profile office, something Hargett began to change after taking office. Hargett began making speeches across the state at political events, leading to speculation that he was planning to run for a higher office. Hargett, however, said he just wants Tennesseans to know more about what the office does.[4][5]

Hargett worked his way up through the levels of state government, beginning with the Tennessee House of Representatives, which he joined in 1996. After 10 years in that body he was named chairman of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority in 2007, serving in that position until taking over as secretary of state on January 15, 2009.[6][7]

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