FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, Jan. 4, 2021
Contact: Kristen Schulze Muszynski
office: 207-626-8400 or cell: 207-441-7638
Secretary Bellows takes office as 50th Secretary of State
AUGUSTA – Secretary of State Shenna Bellows took office today, Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, becoming the first woman elected to the post by the Maine Legislature.
Gov. Janet Mills conducted the formal swearing-in of all the constitutional officers, which includes Secretary Bellows, State Treasurer Henry Beck and Attorney General Aaron Frey; as well as the statutory office of State Auditor, now held by former Secretary Matthew Dunlap.
In her remarks in the House Chamber (full speech of swearing in - PDF format) following the swearing-in, Secretary Bellows shared a message of unity and dedication to serving the people of the State of Maine.
“There’s a lesson in the diversity of our families that we should apply to public life – to treat those who are not in our party with courtesy and respect, and to realize that even when we disagree, we share the same values and the same goals for a better future,” said Secretary Bellows.
The Department of the Secretary of State includes three bureaus: The Maine State Archives, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions.
Secretary Bellows shared her vision for each bureau, such as embracing technology to improve public access, efficiency and service for motor vehicle transactions; and to share Maine history more widely by digitizing archival documents. She also spoke of her goal to advance voter participation through reforms like online voter registration and to ensure the integrity of future elections through election audits.
Secretary Bellows acknowledged the significance of being the first woman to hold the office of Secretary of State in Maine, and noted the inspiration of her grandmother, Margaret Gray Colson Devot, who celebrated her 101st birthday this weekend, having been born in the year that saw the final ratification of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote.
“In America, in Maine, you can grow up to be whoever it is that you want to be, to fulfill whatever your wildest dreams might be regardless of who you are or where you come from,” said Secretary Bellows, recounting her message to students who would visit the State House during her tenure in the Senate. “Someday before I reach my grandmother’s age, should I be so lucky, I hope to see the last of the firsts.”
Secretary Bellows, now Maine’s 50th Secretary of State, previously served two terms in the Maine Senate from 2016-2020, and most recently worked as executive director of the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine. For her full biography, visit www.jinqiehui.cn/sos.