San Antonio.- Earlier this week, Gov. Rick Perry appointed John Thomas Steen, Jr. of San Antonio to be the 108th Secretary of State of Texas. Steen replaces Esperanza “Hope” Andrade who resigned from the position Nov. 23 after more than four years on the job. Andrade, who also hailed from San Antonio, was sworn in July 23, 2008.
According to the Governor’s Office, in his new role as Secretary of State, Steen will serve as the state’s chief elections officer, the governor’s liaison on border and Mexican affairs and Texas’ chief protocol officer for state and international matters.
The Secretary of State’s Office also serves as the formal repository for official and business records, publishes government rules and regulations, keeps the state seal and attests to the governor’s signature on official documents. Steen was sworn in and his appointment was effective Tuesday, Nov. 27.
“John’s strong business background and dedication to public service throughout the years make him uniquely qualified to serve in this important role,” Gov. Perry said. “His leadership over our state’s elections process, economic development efforts and international relations will be an integral part of Texas’ goal to expand economic prosperity and opportunity for all Texans.”
Early Tuesday, Steen was in Austin immersed in orientation for the new position, but in a statement released by the Governor’s office he explained he was honored to accept the new appointment.
“I am humbled and deeply honored by Gov. Perry’s appointment to serve Texas as its 108th Secretary of State,” Steen said.
“Serving the State of Texas is an extraordinary privilege, and I look forward to promoting the Texas success story to create more economic opportunities for our citizens and continuing to work with our neighbor, Mexico, toward a prosperous future. As chief elections officer, I will make it my highest priority to preserve the integrity of our elections and ensure they are fair, accessible and secure,” he added.
Throughout his career, Texas’ new Secretary of State fulfilled a myriad of leadership positions.
Steen is a San Antonio attorney and a fellow of the San Antonio Bar Foundation, a life fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation, an executive committee member of the University of Texas System Chancellor’s Council and a member of the Distinguished Leaders Council.
He is also vice chairman of the University of Texas San Antonio Development Board, past president of the Fiesta San Antonio Commission and past chairman of the World Affairs Council of San Antonio. Additionally, he is former board member of the Texas Public Safety Commission, a past commissioner and former chair of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and a past member of the Texas Commission on Economy and Efficiency in State Government. The San Antonian also served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve.
Steen graduated from Princeton University with a bachelor’s degree and earned his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law.
Angela Covo is a reporter for La Prensa de San Antonio. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.