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Home > News > Secretary of State Takes Oath For Third Term

January 6, 2009
Contact: Matthew Dunlap

Secretary of State Matt Dunlap Takes Oath For Third Term: Outlines Goals

AUGUSTA —Matthew Dunlap of Old Town took the oath of office this afternoon in the chamber of the House of Representatives for his third term as Maine's 47th Secretary of State. Dunlap was elected by joint ballot of the Legislature on December 3rd, 2008. Dunlap had been nominated for reelection by Sen. Dennis Damon, D-Hancock and seconded by Rep. Leila Percy, D-Phippsburg, and Rep. Paul Davis, R-Sangerville. Also taking the oath of office today were Attorney General Janet Mills of Farmington, Treasurer David G. Lemoine of Old Orchard Beach, and State Auditor Neria Douglass of Auburn. Administering the oath was Governor John E. Baldacci.

“It's been an exciting time to be Secretary of State,” said Dunlap. “From the upgrades in service at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to the implementation of the Help America Vote Act, and the national discussions over Real ID and corporate formation security to the development of a modern digital archive, these are the most sweeping changes in half a century. It's been challenging and sometimes frustrating, but my greatest asset has been the fantastic dedication of the skilled coworkers I have at my side.”

Nearly 450 people are employed at the Department of the Secretary of State, and the department is responsible for the examination and issuance of licenses to over 1 million drivers; for registering and titling nearly 1.5 million motor vehicles, as well as regulating junkyards, recyclers, and car dealers. Also the Department supervises the conduct and tabulation of ballots for all state elections, files all corporate papers and maintains commercial lien filing under the Uniform Commercial Code, qualifies and oversees notaries public and files all commissions, and maintains permanent public records dating to 1639. Maine's Archives house nearly 100 million permanent records that are vital to the conduct of Maine commerce and law.

“Where we go in the 21st Century is obviously predicated on how the Legislature is able to cope with the current fiscal situation,” Dunlap noted cautiously. “Obviously, we have affirmative obligations under the Constitution and the law. Elections can't be postponed because of a budget cut, and vital records must be accessed in Freedom of Access requests. We can't simply stop licensing drivers; clearly, we must be creative as to how we proceed with the financial restraints that we are under.

“But as we move forward, we can't let the challenges before us become excuses. We've been through worse, and prevailed. It is my goal that all of our computer upgrades will be completed on schedule and on budget, that we will work with the administration and Legislature to solve our space issues at the Archives, and we will continue to improve our elections with guidance from the Legislature.” Dunlap noted the national challenges that Maine has been at the forefront of. “With the seating of a new national administration, we're hopeful that we'll get better resources and clearer guidance on the Real ID Act implementation and better collaboration on the critical issue of information regarding corporate formation and the tools the international community needs to combat money laundering and terrorist financing,” he said.

Dunlap's term is for two years. In addition to his duties as Secretary of State, he is also Treasurer of the National Association of Secretaries of State, President of the National Electronic Commerce Coordinating Council, President of the University of Maine ‘M' Club, and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Mind and Behavior , on the Steering Committee of the Russian-American Rule of Law Consortium, on the board of Maine's Youth Fish and Game Association, and is a regular monthly columnist for The Northwoods Sporting Journal. He lives in Old Town with his wife, Michelle Dunphy, and their daughter, Emily Charlotte Dunlap.