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Holli Sullivan appointed as new secretary of state

Gov Eric Holcomb announced Rep. Holli Sullivan (above), R-Evansville, as Indiana’s new secretary of state Tuesday afternoon as Connie Lawson resigns.

Sullivan follows in the footsteps of Lawson, the longest serving secretary of state in Indiana’s history. She will be only the third woman to hold the position.

Lawson is stepping down to focus on her health and her family saying, “Like many Hoosiers, 2020 took a toll on me,” in a statement in February. “I have served with all of my heart and soul. It has been an honor to serve, but it is time for me to step down.”

Lawson was also appointed into the position by Gov. Mitch Daniels and then elected in 2014 and reelected 2018. Before becoming secretary of state she served 16 years in the Indiana Senate and was the first woman to serve as Majority Floor Leader in 2006.

Holcomb said he is excited to see Sullivan as the new secretary of state, but will miss having Lawson as a “neighbor and a friend.”

“Secretary of State Sullivan hits the ground running, building on the remarkable work Hoosiers have come to expect from the office during Connie Lawson’s historic tenure,” Holcomb said.

While in office Lawson said one of the biggest issues she will look at is election cybersecurity to ensure every vote counts. She has also been working with the secretary of state’s office for the past few years on legislation regarding the funding of cybersecurity for the 2020 election.

“I look forward to building on Indiana’s record of free, fair, and secure elections to make sure every eligible voter can vote and every legal vote is counted,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan has served as a representative for Warrick and Vanderburgh counties for seven years in the Indiana House. Before that she was a manager at General Motors and launched her own consulting firm, Onward Consulting, in partnership with the University of Southern Indiana.

Indiana Republicans spoke today on the legacy Lawson will leave behind at the Statehouse and the excitement of seeing Sullivan sworn in.

“Holli Sullivan is a slam-dunk appointment to serve as Secretary of State and Governor Holcomb couldn’t have named a better successor to Secretary Connie Lawson’s legendary career of public service,” Indiana Republican Party Chairman Kyle Hupfer said in a statement. “Under Secretary Lawson, Indiana has an impeccable record of administering safe and secure elections, a record I’m confident Secretary Sullivan will continue.”

Taylor Dixon is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.