BRIDGEPORT – Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz will be the keynote speaker at Housatonic Community College’s 41st commencement May 29.

Connecticut's 72nd Secretary of the State, Bysiewicz is the chief elections official and business registrar for the State of Connecticut. She was first elected to the post in 1998, and then re-elected in 2002 and 2006.

Throughout her career in public service, Bysiewicz has been an advocate of open, ethical, and accountable government on all levels. As Secretary of State, she has pressed for sweeping ethics reform by calling for the revocation of pension benefits for those government officials convicted of a crime related to their jobs, and to prevent the unnecessary sealing of judicial branch court cases involving prominent business leaders, politicians, and judges. 

Secretary Bysiewicz has also supported legislation that would penalize state contractors who defraud the state, and that would establish strict ethics codes for Connecticut municipalities.

In her role as the chief elections official in Connecticut, Secretary Bysiewicz’s top priority has been to ensure that the state’s voting process is fully reliable, secure, and private. In 2002, she helped write the landmark Help America Vote Act (HAVA) with U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd to protect the integrity and improve the accessibility of our nation’s electoral system. 

 In 2006 and 2007, she oversaw the successful statewide implementation of both optical scan voting technology and vote-by-phone technology that allows Connecticut residents with disabilities to vote privately and independently at the polls.  To assure voters of the reliability of Connecticut’s elections, she won passage of the strictest, mandatory audit law in the country for which she has earned national acclaim. 

Her efforts to expand voter registration and participation paid off in both the 2000 and 2004 Presidential elections, when Connecticut’s voter turnout was among the highest in the nation.

During her tenure, she streamlined the Secretary of the State’s office through the innovative use of technology.  As a result, many public records and other information housed in her office are readily accessible on-line to all Connecticut citizens. 

She led the nation in implementing the CONCORD system to allow for searches of essential information about the more than 340,000 companies registered to do business in Connecticut. In addition, she created the nation’s first statewide voter database, known as the Connecticut Voter Registration System (CVRS), to streamline voter registration, protect voter rights, and prevent voter fraud. 

Her groundbreaking effort to bring the CONCORD, CVRS, and other systems to the global community has resulted in national recognition for her leadership and commitment to expanding e-government.           

Before she was elected as Secretary of the State, Bysiewicz represented the 100th Assembly District towns of Middletown, Durham, and Middlefield in the state House of Representatives from 1988 to 1992. In that capacity, she also served as House Chair of the Government Administration and Elections Committee. 

 As a state representative, she won passage of legislation that made Connecticut's lobbying and campaign finance disclosure laws among the strictest in the country. 

She is a graduate of Yale College and Duke University School of Law. She lives in Middletown with her husband and three children.

HCC’s commencement will be held at Bridgeport’s Arena at Harbor Yard.