Letter, Opinion

Why I, Chris Winters, am running for secretary of state

Dear Editor,

In a few short weeks, at the end of June, absentee ballots will be available and Vermonters will begin casting their votes to determine party nominees for the fall elections.

With so many candidates running, you may not hear much about the secretary of state’s race. I urge you to take a closer look.

As the current Deputy Secretary to Jim Condos, who is retiring, I can tell you that every Vermonter, every day, is affected by the work we do. The secretary of state’s office registers businesses, regulates 80,000 licensed professionals, maintains state records, issues vital records, assists municipalities, provides campaign finance and lobbyist disclosures, and last, but certainly not least, oversees Vermont’s elections.

A well-run secretary of state’s office makes Vermonters’ lives safer, easier and better. Without the right person in charge, Vermont will see an immediate impact in public safety, the economy, government transparency, and even democracy itself.

I’m running for secretary of state to make sure our elections are safe and secure, our voters have access to voting and to their government, our businesses have the support they need to operate successfully, and our office is transparent, responsive and helpful to all Vermonters at all times.

These aren’t just talking points for me, they are deliverables. As a veteran public servant and Deputy Secretary to Jim Condos for the last seven years, I have delivered on these promises time and time again.

I’ll use my experience and knowledge to ensure stability and continuity at a time when conducting elections and running an agency has gotten more complicated than ever; at a time when it feels like everything we thought to be true is constantly changing.

As the first person in my family to go to college and the father of four children, I’m driven to make my state a better place – whether that’s as a community volunteer, a school board chair, or as a baseball coach, I want to solve problems and be of service. As an attorney, I’m committed to fairness and leveling the playing field for everyone. As a Vermonter, I want to leave things better than I found them.

Fortunately, I get to do that every day at the secretary of state’s office.

I have worked hard to protect and preserve voting rights and ballot access for all Vermonters through safe, secure, and accurate elections. In fact, Vermont has received the #1 ranking in elections performance of all 50 states from MIT’s elections performance index in the last two presidential elections and leads the way for other states.

I have created a nationally recognized system of right-sized professional regulation that protects the public while eliminating unnecessary red tape. In other words, regulations that go far enough to protect the public, but not too far so as to interfere with employment or the marketplace.

I fought hard for the creation of an ethics commission, a one stop business portal, efficient online services, and have been a strong advocate for transparency, accountability and the public’s right to know.

These are just a few of many examples of how the Vermont secretary of state’s office is making a difference for Vermonters. I want to continue those successes and build upon them. I will keep fighting to make things safer, easier, and better.

In these uncertain times, I believe Vermonters want security, stability, and experienced leadership they can trust. I am ready to lead on day one and I am asking for your vote.

Chris Winters, Candidate for secretary of state

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