Letter, Opinion

Why I’m running for secretary of state

Dear Editor,

In a few short months, Vermonters will begin casting their ballots to determine party nominees for the fall elections.

With so many candidates running for Congress and lt. governor, you may not hear as much about the secretary of state’s race. I urge you to take a closer look — this small office packs a big punch: Registering businesses, preserving our most precious documents in the state archives, protecting the public by regulating 80,000 licensed professionals, assisting municipalities, providing campaign finance and lobbyist disclosures, and last, but certainly not least, overseeing 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 am 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 am running as a problem solver who has done the job. I am  running as a public servant who is committed to this office and is dedicated to this work. I am running to make things safer, easier and better.I am running as the candidate who is ready to lead on day one.

I’ll bring my hard-earned experience and intimate knowledge of the operations of the office to the top job. I want 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 No. 1 ranking in elections performance of all 50 states from MIT’s elections performance index in the last two presidential elections.

I have created a nationally recognized system of right-sized professional regulation that protects the public while eliminating unnecessary red tape. It’s a system that other states are now trying to copy.

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.  

Safer, easier and better. These are just a few of many examples of how the Vermont secretary of state’s office is leading the way and I will keep fighting to make things safer, easier, and better. I will make sure that:

Vermont has elections that are fair, accurate and accessible so that every qualified voter has their voice heard. We make it easy to start, maintain and expand a business through our business portal. We have a transparent and accountable government you can believe in; and we maintain the customer service and responsiveness we are known for.

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, deputy secretary of state 

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