I believe in what’s possible for the American democracy.
Despite the challenges facing our democracy today, I still believe the American democracy can deliver on the promise of freedom, justice and equality for all people…but we have to work for it.
A strong, vibrant and expansive democracy requires courageous, proactive and visionary leadership. It requires a Secretary of State who seeks ways to create opportunities and clear barriers to help improve quality of life for all people.
A strong, vibrant and expansive democracy demands a Secretary of State who embraces their role as the chief democracy officer, a leader who works in service to our communities and advances policies that empower people.
For more than a quarter of a century, this office has been administrative, transactional, and ministerial. By design, it has not taken an active role in creating pathways of opportunity in our democracy. Instead, the office has been decidedly reactionary and celebrating the status quo.
In contrast, my vision for this office is intentionally proactive, courageous, and centered on empowering people at the local level, in communities from Provincetown to Pittsfield. The portfolio of this office is deep and impacts the full spectrum of our democracy. That is why I refer to it as the chief democracy office and the role of secretary of state as the chief democracy officer. Indeed, the advancement of democracy requires full engagement and to activate this office will require courageous, vision and inclusive leadership that is connected to our communities and determined to build the democracy we all deserve.
I am running for Secretary of State to transform this office from being a static administrative hub into a dynamic democracy gateway seeking ways to increase opportunity and remove barriers to improve quality of life for all people. I believe that this moment demands more, we deserve more and together we will deliver more!
I invite you to learn more about my vision for this office by joining one of our local meet & greets or by exploring my policy positions.
I am working to earn your vote on or before September 6th. Please reach out to me with any questions: Tanisha@TanishaSullivan.com.
In a time of great uncertainty in our democracy, increasing voter participation and ensuring election security must be the number one priority for the next Secretary of State.
We need a secretary who will roll up their sleeves to do the tough work necessary to increase voter participation across the Commonwealth.
In the 2020 Presidential election, just under In the 2020 Presidential election, just under two-thirds of Massachusetts residents who were eligible to cast a ballot did so. Some who chose not to vote were registered to vote with their municipality, too many others had not even taken that step. Massachusetts ranks 28th in the nation for voter registration. That is with automatic voter registration.
In the 2020 presidential election we saw wide disparities in turnout across the state with our highest performing districts turning out 90% or more of their voters, while cities like Springfield only saw 50% of eligible voters cast ballots. In 2021, none of our state’s top ten Gateway Cities saw their voter turnout rate surpass 32%.
We must continue to break down administrative barriers to the ballot box to help ensure that eligible voters can exercise their right to vote free and clear. But that is not enough. In far too many communities people are losing trust in our democracy. As the chief democracy office, the secretary of state must take a leading role in helping to build and restore trust in our democracy as part of a strategy to increase voter participation.
It is also critically important that we are vigilant in advancing election security to ensure our elections are safe, secure and inclusive. Our goal must be to lead the world in election security.
As Chief Democracy Officer, I will be guided by the following principles:
One of the core fights during the civil rights movement was to ensure that eligible voters could register to vote without restriction. According to a 2020 Kaiser Family Foundation report Massachusetts ranks 28th in voter registration nationally. To address this issue, I will:
Maine adopted same day voter registration in 1973, nearly a half century ago. Since that time 20 other states, including all other New England states have adopted some form of same day voter registration. As a result, they have knocked down one of the biggest barriers to voting for people of color, working people, low-income communities, and other vulnerable communities.
For decades voting rights advocates have pleaded with the Massachusetts secretary of state and state legislature to remove this racial and economic barrier to voting. As Secretary of State I will:
We must increase voter participation across Massachusetts.
Our strategy must included both breaking down administrative barriers to the ballot box, and addressing the broken trust far too many people are experiencing with government. We must restore trust and strengthen the relationship between government and the people in order to inspire, motivate and encourage people to vote and increase overall civic participation.
As Secretary of State I will:
With so many pressures facing families and residents today, we have to do what we can to increase ballot box accessibility. As Secretary of State, I will:
Our local town clerks are the chief democracy officers for their cities and towns and they deserve the support and resources to innovate in order to expand local participation in elections, and to share with others what they learn. They also deserve opportunities to access training on proven and emergent approaches for expanding voter registration. As Secretary of State I will:
As a civil rights leader I know how critically important it is to have safe and secure elections we can all trust. Following the January 6th insurrection, the issue of election security could not be more important. As Secretary of State I will:
The secretary of state is the chief information officer for the Commonwealth. In this capacity the secretary must work to ensure (i) government transparency, (ii) that public information is accessible, and (iii) that people have access to the information they need to engage with government.
In 2013 Massachusetts received and F from Open States in response to the lack of transparency in our state legislature, and a 2015 study from the Center for Public Integrity gave the state a D+. We are not getting any better, at a time when people are losing trust in government. Massachusetts is the birthplace of democracy and should be carrying the mantle of transparency in our democracy.
Ensuring the public has timely access to public records and information is a critical check and balance in our democracy.
As Secretary of State I will work to ensure that public records are not shielded from the public and that public policy is debated in public.
As Chief Democracy Officer, I will be guided by the following principles:
Massachusetts is the birthplace of our democracy, and today it is the least transparent state in the country.
Massachusetts exempts the Governor, state legislature and state judiciary from open records law. No other state shields so much of the work of its officials from the view of the public.
And, when residents, journalists and advocates are able to request public requests, they must navigate a sea of red tape. As Secretary of State, I will:
When public records requests are received by government entities they should be responded to swiftly and those requests should not be assessed burdensome fees seeking to restrict access. The Secretary of State must do more to improve timely compliance with the law and to hold public officials and agencies accountable for their public records responses by:
In the digital age, residents should be able to find the public information they want easily and quickly from their computers and other devices. Massachusetts still uses systems created for a paper-based world. We need information to be delivered in real-time in a format that is easily accessed and understood. As Secretary of State I will:
Income inequality is impacting communities across Massachusetts. The average income among the top 20% of households is $299,188, accounting for 50.9% of all income earned in Massachusetts. The average income among the lower 20% of households by earnings is just $16,450, or just 2.8% of all earnings statewide. These two numbers demonstrate the depth of economic inequality within the Commonwealth. The Secretary of State has the power to make meaningful changes toward addressing the economic inequality experienced by far too many Massachusetts families.
Massachusetts is the most expensive state in the country to register a business and small businesses bear the brunt of this cost. The fees paid to the Secretary of State by businesses are the same for the micro main street diner as the large corporation downtown Boston. That is not fair.
A strong democracy requires a strong economy and right now our economy is fragile. The Secretary of State can no longer sit on the sidelines collecting fees while our small business community is struggling. Through the corporations division I will ensure that this office is doing its part to help tackle economic inequality and stabilize the economy.
As Secretary of State, I will be guided by the following principles:
Business ownership is one of the ways we can tackle economic inequality in Massachusetts. We need to make it easier and less expensive to start and maintain a thriving business.
If you want to do business in Massachusetts, you must go through the Secretary of State. We will use the power of the office to (i) make it easier to start and maintain a micro small business or entrepreneurial venture, (ii) better understand the needs of businesses, (iii) connect micro small businesses with resources, and (iv) incentivize inclusive and sustainable growth.
Specifically, we will:
Given the impact economic inequality across Massachusetts every constitutional officer should be taking affirmative steps to address this issue and create a more inclusive economy. As Secretary of State I will:
As the Chair of the Massachusetts Historical Commission, the Secretary of State oversees the annual allocation of over 50 million dollars in Historic Tax Credits. I want to use this process to help address our affordable housing crisis, promote the development of climate resilient and transit-oriented housing, increase diversity in the real estate development, and preserve more of our history.
As Secretary I will:
The Dobbs decision represents a critical encroachment on the rights of all of us, including women and families in Massachusetts. Today, across the country, Republicans are passing strict abortion bans. Beyond the extreme bans themselves, increasing numbers of states are punishing individuals who assist women with abortion services. While Governor Baker and the Legislature have taken steps to prevent extraditions to anti-abortion states, it is clear all of Massachusetts’ constitutional officers must step up to ensure the rights of women in and out of the Commonwealth are protected.
Secretary of State Bill Galvin is a 27-year incumbent and the only anti-abortion constitutional officer in Massachusetts.
I believe that if Republicans can use their elected offices to push a radical agenda on issues like abortion, then the least Democrats can do is use their offices to push back against it. On this issue, as with others, Massachusetts must lead.
The Commonwealth Office of Secretary of State is endowed with significant powers and authority to regulate corporations and securities, the disclosure of public records, and the registration of lobbyists, among others. As Secretary, I will use the full power of the office to protect women’s reproductive health and push back against efforts in the Commonwealth and across state lines to criminalize the right to choose when, how and with whom to start a family.
Massachusetts Must Lead on Reproductive Freedom
With the fall of Roe v. Wade, we have entered a new era in which constitutional officers will directly impact access to women’s health care. At this moment, women need an ally, who will provide the proactive leadership Massachusetts needs to defend all our rights
The following policies outline how I will lead on Reproductive Freedom as Secretary of State:
Today, states are not only criminalizing abortion services within their state lines but also anyone who travels out of state or assists women with abortion services in any way, including one ban permitting people to sue and collect a bounty of at least $10,000 for anyone who "aids or abets" an abortion. At the same time, the availability of digital health records and apps teenagers use on their smartphones to track their monthly cycles make it easier than ever to track users in need of reproductive health services – putting women, as well as doctors and nurses at risk.
As Secretary, empowered under Chapter 66 of the Massachusetts code governing the supervision and distribution of public records, I will support and strengthen the privacy of women and health care workers. I will refuse to disclose and turn over any public records that could be used to criminalize or punish those who seek abortion services. I will work with the state legislature to strengthen privacy protections for women and health care workers who care for them.
Within the Corporations Division, the Secretary of State has authority to issue Certificates of Good Standing to companies and entities that wish to conduct business in Massachusetts. Likewise, the Securities Division has oversight of entities that seek to issue a security or raise funds in Massachusetts. The overall goal of both efforts is to protect Massachusetts residents and investors.
As Secretary, I will require companies applying for a Certificate of Good Standing or to issue a security in Massachusetts to disclose certain information about the reproductive health services it provides its employees and dependents. This would include whether: 1) its health plan covers contraception, abortion services and miscarriage care, 2) provides on-site or subsidized child care provisions, 3) has collaborated with law enforcement to punish anyone seeking or aiding reproductive health services, as well as any other essential information when it comes to deciding whether to start a family. If necessary, I will work with the legislature for additional statutory authority.
From this information, I will compile a “Reproductive Health Grade” easily accessible on the state website for each company that allows consumers and investors to see for themselves whether companies doing business in Massachusetts are supportive of women and families.
So-called “crisis pregnancy centers” feign to offer legitimate abortion services, but actually gather personal information and then harass pregnant women. Like Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) who has led on this issue at the federal level, I believes these centers deceive women and should be held accountable.
As Secretary, I will work with the Attorney General to ensure the records of crisis pregnancy centers are complete, their advertising is truthful and will seek to add disclaimers where necessary to minimize fraud and deception.
In addition, I will explore whether the broad authority within the Massachusetts Securities Act—which mandates that “any person who offers or sells a security in the Commonwealth cannot engage in any act, practice, or course of business which operates or would operate as a fraud or deceit upon any person”—can be applied not only to crisis pregnancy centers but any affiliate or funder.
Today, when lobbyists and businesses register in the Commonwealth, they agree to disclose what legislation they lobbied on and whether they opposed or supported it. But they don’t, because Bill Galvin doesn’t hold them accountable. As a result, powerful institutions often are permitted to simply state they advocate on “issues of interest to the institution.” This has implications for women, as today lobbyists are currently advocating in the legislature against reproductive health care legislation such as the Roe Act and funds in the budget for out of state abortion care.
As Secretary, I will enforce existing lobbying law to ensure timely, accurate and transparent disclosure of what lobbyists and companies are advocating or opposing. This will apply not only to reproductive health but a host of issues before the legislature important to women and families, including voting reform, public records law and economic opportunity.