NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, October 26th, 2021

It’s official: Kim Wyman is joining the Biden administration, will resign November 19th

Wash­ing­ton’s Repub­li­can Sec­re­tary of State Kim Wyman con­firmed this morn­ing that she’s decid­ed to take a job with the Biden admin­is­tra­tion and will be resign­ing as Wash­ing­ton’s Sec­re­tary of State in a lit­tle less than a month.

“I am hon­ored to be able to share near­ly three decades of expe­ri­ence and exper­tise at the fed­er­al lev­el to sup­port CISA’s efforts to safe­guard our elec­tion sys­tems from cyber­at­tacks and enhance the public’s con­fi­dence in our elec­tions,” Wyman said in a state­ment. “As I assume this new role, I remain com­mit­ted to pro­tect­ing the integri­ty of our elec­tions, and work­ing close­ly with local and state elec­tions offi­cials nation­wide to bol­ster this foun­da­tion­al pil­lar of our democracy.”

CISA, the Cyber­se­cu­ri­ty and Infra­struc­ture Secu­ri­ty Agency, is an inde­pen­dent com­po­nent of the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty (DHS). Formed in 2018, CISA is the suc­ces­sor to the Nation­al Pro­tec­tion and Pro­grams Direc­torate (NPPD), which was estab­lished in 2007. As its name sug­gests, its prin­ci­pal focus is secur­ing the nation’s infra­struc­ture against cyber threats.

Dur­ing the Trump error, CISA was led by Christo­pher Krebs, who was infa­mous­ly dis­missed by Trump after stat­ing, cor­rect­ly, that the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion was secure and that there was “no evi­dence that any vot­ing sys­tem delet­ed or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”

Trump removed Krebs from his posi­tion short­ly after those com­ments were made.

Nowa­days, CISA is led by Jen East­er­ly, a for­mer bat­tal­ion exec­u­tive offi­cer and brigade oper­a­tions offi­cer in the Unit­ed States Army Intel­li­gence and Secu­ri­ty Com­mand. East­er­ly was con­firmed by the Unit­ed States Sen­ate in July via voice vote, with no sen­a­tor express­ing any opposition.

Here’s the CISA state­ment on Wyman’s hir­ing, with a quote from East­er­ly:

WASHINGTON – The Cyber­se­cu­ri­ty and Infra­struc­ture Secu­ri­ty Agency (CISA) today announced that Wash­ing­ton Sec­re­tary of State Kim Wyman will join the Biden Admin­is­tra­tion as CISA’s Senior Elec­tion Secu­ri­ty Lead. As an expert on elec­tions and expe­ri­enced Sec­re­tary of State, her appoint­ment speaks to the Agency’s ded­i­ca­tion to work­ing with elec­tion offi­cials through­out the nation in a non-par­ti­san man­ner to ensure the secu­ri­ty and resilience of our elec­tion infrastructure.

“Kim’s rep­u­ta­tion is sec­ond to none and I am per­son­al­ly thrilled to have her lead CISA’s elec­tion secu­ri­ty efforts. Her decades of expe­ri­ence, unpar­al­leled exper­tise, and unim­peach­able integri­ty have earned her bipar­ti­san respect at every lev­el of gov­ern­ment. Kim’s deep knowl­edge of state and coun­ty gov­ern­ment will strength­en our part­ner­ships with state and local offi­cials and enable us to expand our out­reach to small­er elec­tion juris­dic­tions and pri­vate sec­tor part­ners.  Free and fair elec­tions are a cor­ner­stone of our democ­ra­cy; Kim and I share a com­mon view that ensur­ing the secu­ri­ty of our elec­tions must be a non-par­ti­san effort. Kim is unique­ly qual­i­fied for this crit­i­cal role, and I can’t wait for her to join the team,” said CISA Direc­tor Jen Easterly.

Kim Wyman is Washington’s 15th Sec­re­tary of State. First elect­ed in 2012, she is only the sec­ond woman to serve as Sec­re­tary of State in Washington’s his­to­ry. Pri­or to being elect­ed to this office, Kim served as Thurston Coun­ty Elec­tions Direc­tor for near­ly a decade and served three terms as the elect­ed Thurston Coun­ty Audi­tor (2001–2013). As head of one of the most mul­ti-faceted offices in state gov­ern­ment, Sec­re­tary Wyman is respon­si­ble for over­see­ing state and local elec­tions, cor­po­ra­tion and char­i­ty fil­ings, the Wash­ing­ton State Library, the Wash­ing­ton Talk­ing Book & Braille Library, and the Wash­ing­ton State Archives. Wyman’s full bio is avail­able here.

“I am hon­ored to be able to share near­ly three decades of expe­ri­ence and exper­tise to sup­port CISA’s efforts to safe­guard our elec­tion sys­tems from cyber-attacks and enhance the public’s con­fi­dence in our elec­tions. As I assume this new role, I remain com­mit­ted to pro­tect­ing the integri­ty of our elec­tions and work­ing close­ly with local and state elec­tions offi­cials nation­wide to bol­ster this foun­da­tion­al pil­lar of our democ­ra­cy,” said Wyman.

And here is Wyman’s full state­ment:

OLYMPIA — Sec­re­tary of State Kim Wyman announced today she will be resign­ing to accept an appoint­ment to serve as the Senior Elec­tion Secu­ri­ty Lead for the Cyber­se­cu­ri­ty and Infra­struc­ture Secu­ri­ty Agency (CISA), the nation’s lead for cyber, infra­struc­ture, and elec­tion secu­ri­ty. She will resign as sec­re­tary of state, effec­tive Nov. 19, 2021.

Wyman, who has served as Washington’s sec­re­tary of state since 2013, released the following:

“When I began work­ing in elec­tions 28 years ago, I resolved to work toward a sys­tem where every eli­gi­ble per­son in our state had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to reg­is­ter, vote, and have their bal­lot count­ed fair­ly and accu­rate­ly. In the past six years, my focus expand­ed to ensure our elec­tions remained safe from for­eign adversaries.”

“Dur­ing my tenure as a state and coun­ty elec­tions admin­is­tra­tor, Wash­ing­ton expand­ed vote-by-mail elec­tions statewide, installed near­ly 500 bal­lot drop box­es, imple­ment­ed same-day and auto­mat­ic vot­er reg­is­tra­tion, enabled 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-reg­is­ter to vote, and more. This growth in access was cou­pled with part­ner­ships that improved elec­tion secu­ri­ty, from cre­at­ing the Vote­WA sys­tem that con­nects elec­tion offi­cials in real-time to ensure elec­tion account­abil­i­ty, to estab­lish­ing the first-of-its-kind Elec­tions Secu­ri­ty Oper­a­tions Cen­ter. We also inte­grat­ed statewide cyber­se­cu­ri­ty train­ing, test­ing, and table­top exer­cise pro­grams in part­ner­ship with the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty, CISA, the FBI, and the Wash­ing­ton Nation­al Guard. All of these enhance­ments, in addi­tion to the tire­less work from coun­ty elec­tion offi­cials, have helped our elec­tions gain nation­al renown.

“I am hon­ored to be able to share near­ly three decades of expe­ri­ence and exper­tise at the fed­er­al lev­el to sup­port CISA’s efforts to safe­guard our elec­tion sys­tems from cyber­at­tacks and enhance the public’s con­fi­dence in our elec­tions. As I assume this new role, I remain com­mit­ted to pro­tect­ing the integri­ty of our elec­tions, and work­ing close­ly with local and state elec­tions offi­cials nation­wide to bol­ster this foun­da­tion­al pil­lar of our democracy.

“For the past nine years, I have had the dis­tinc­tion of serv­ing my fel­low Wash­ing­to­ni­ans in unique ways, includ­ing over­see­ing state elec­tions, cor­po­ra­tions and char­i­ties reg­is­tra­tions, State Archives, State Library, and var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ty pro­grams. It has been my high­est hon­or and achieve­ment to lead the pro­fes­sion­als respon­si­ble for admin­is­ter­ing these crit­i­cal ser­vices and pro­pelling this diverse office into the future. Although I will not have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to ful­fill my term, I know they will con­tin­ue to pro­vide excep­tion­al ser­vice and lead­er­ship well beyond my time in office.”

“Togeth­er, this team has accom­plished some amaz­ing feats — from lead­ing the way on elec­tion secu­ri­ty and devel­op­ing a stream­lined online fil­ing sys­tem for Washington’s cor­po­ra­tions and char­i­ties, to mak­ing progress on a new Library-Archives Build­ing that will con­nect the peo­ple of Wash­ing­ton to the rich his­to­ry and inclu­sive future of our state, and so much more — and I am con­fi­dent that this impor­tant work will continue.”

Fol­low­ing her res­ig­na­tion, Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee will be charged with appoint­ing a new sec­re­tary of state, who will hold the posi­tion until the next gen­er­al elec­tion in Novem­ber 2022.

Washington’s Office of the Sec­re­tary of State over­sees a num­ber of areas with­in state gov­ern­ment, includ­ing man­ag­ing state elec­tions, reg­is­ter­ing cor­po­ra­tions and char­i­ties, and gov­ern­ing the use of the state flag and state seal. The office also man­ages the State Archives and the State Library, doc­u­ments extra­or­di­nary sto­ries in Washington’s his­to­ry through Lega­cy Wash­ing­ton, over­sees the Com­bined Fund Dri­ve for char­i­ta­ble giv­ing by state employ­ees, and admin­is­ters the state’s Address Con­fi­den­tial­i­ty Pro­gram to help pro­tect sur­vivors of crime.

As Wyman’s state­ment says, the vacan­cy cre­at­ed by her res­ig­na­tion will be filled by guber­na­to­r­i­al appoint­ment. The appointee will serve until the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the Novem­ber 2022 midterm elec­tions in about a year and a month, at which time the indi­vid­ual cho­sen by the vot­ers will assume office unless that per­son is the same per­son that Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee appoints.

Repub­li­cans have held the office of Sec­re­tary of State for over fifty years, but Inslee is under no oblig­a­tion to keep the posi­tion in Repub­li­can hands, and is not expect­ed to. Con­se­quent­ly, as of Wyman’s depar­ture on Novem­ber 19th, there almost cer­tain­ly won’t be any statewide Repub­li­can elect­ed offi­cials left on the Left Coast. Wyman was the last one. And now she’s gone — head­ed to the Biden admin­is­tra­tion for an impor­tant new post­ing at CISA.

“I spoke to Kim ear­li­er today and con­grat­u­lat­ed her on her appoint­ment,” said Gov­er­nor Inslee. “She has remained inde­pen­dent in the face of par­ti­san chal­lenges and has always done what was best for the strength of our democracy.”

“I remem­ber watch­ing Kim cer­ti­fy the 2020 elec­tion results last Decem­ber on the floor of the state Sen­ate. When con­front­ed with the choice of adopt­ing elec­tion lies being pro­mul­gat­ed by pow­er­ful forces in her par­ty, Kim chose to stand by the will of the peo­ple. We are a stronger state because of Kim’s endeavors.”

“She is a great fit to lead these cru­cial efforts at the nation­al lev­el and I have no doubt that her exper­tise, ener­gy and focus will lead to more secure elec­tions and help restore faith in the demo­c­ra­t­ic process.”

“I will appoint her replace­ment in the com­ing weeks, and I believe that regard­less of who it is, they will con­tin­ue the vital work that Kim and her staff have put in place.”

“I wish Sec­re­tary Wyman the best in her new posi­tion,” said Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty Chair Tina Pod­lodows­ki. “While we haven’t always seen eye to eye, I have a lot of hope for her future work to defend our democ­ra­cy from for­eign inter­fer­ence and keep our elec­tions free and fair.”

“This will be a crit­i­cal spe­cial elec­tion in 2022. We’ve seen how Repub­li­can politi­cians have spent the last year call­ing into ques­tion the integri­ty of our elec­tions and alleg­ing nonex­is­tent fraud. They’ve filed com­plete­ly unground­ed law­suits, includ­ing ones that the state Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty is inter­ven­ing in now to dis­miss in fed­er­al court. They’ve spread con­spir­a­cies and non­sense to try to under­mine con­fi­dence in our elec­tions and our democracy.”

“I wor­ry about how the Repub­li­can [Top Two com­pe­ti­tion] for this seat is going to go next year. We should all want a Sec­re­tary of State who will pro­tect our right to vote and the integri­ty of and pub­lic trust in our elec­tions. The Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty is com­mit­ted to fight­ing hard to help elect some­one who will defend our democ­ra­cy against the attacks of the Repub­li­can Party.”

Pod­lodowski’s coun­ter­part Caleb Heim­lich float­ed the pos­si­bil­i­ty of Pod­lodows­ki being appoint­ed the new Sec­re­tary of State by Gov­er­nor Inslee dur­ing an appear­ance on Q13 with Bran­di Kruse. How­ev­er, Pod­lodows­ki is com­mit­ted to her work as head of the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty and is not seek­ing the appoint­ment. (Pod­lodows­ki was Wyman’s 2016 Demo­c­ra­t­ic opponent.)

Our team at NPI thanks Kim Wyman for her ser­vice. While we haven’t always agreed on the issues, she has been kind and gra­cious to our team every sin­gle time we’ve inter­act­ed, and we hope to catch up with her about her new role once she is set­tled in at the Cyber­se­cu­ri­ty and Infra­struc­ture Secu­ri­ty Agency. 

This post will be updat­ed with addi­tion­al details as we get them.

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One Comment

  1. Kath­leen Drew, who ran against Wyman when the seat became vacant would be my choice. She a Demo­c­rat who was elect­ed Sen­a­tor what was then a heav­i­ly Repub­li­can, new­ly cre­at­ed 5th leg­isla­tive district.

    # by Mike Barer :: October 26th, 2021 at 8:53 PM

One Ping

  1. […] Repub­li­can Kim Wyman, the last Repub­li­can hold­ing statewide office on the Left Coast, who is resign­ing on Novem­ber 19th to take a job in the Biden admin­is­tra­tion. He will be the first Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sec­re­tary of State in more than half a […]

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