Who is Robyn Crittenden, Georgia’s new secretary of state?

Robyn Crittenden was sworn in as Georgia's 23rd secretary of state by Gov. Nathan Deal on Thursday. Photo credit: Governor's Office.
Robyn Crittenden was sworn in as Georgia's 23rd secretary of state by Gov. Nathan Deal on Thursday. Photo credit: Governor's Office.

Georgia’s interim secretary of state is Robyn Crittenden, an attorney who for three years has led the state government’s largest agency, the Department of Human Services.

Crittenden is the first African-American woman to serve as a statewide constitutional officer in Georgia history.

Gov. Nathan Deal appointed Crittenden on Thursday after Secretary of State Brian Kemp resigned, saying he's beginning the transition to the governor's office. Incomplete election results showed Kemp, a Republican, held the lead over Democrat Stacey Abrams.

“I intend to take on this role in the same way I have approached my previous work in state government — with a focus on transparency and service to the people of Georgia,” Crittenden said. “Georgians can rest assured that I’m going to give this job my all, and that we’re going to follow the law.”

Crittenden is a longtime ally with Deal, serving with first lady Sandra Deal as co-chairwoman of the Older Adults Cabinet and working to combat hunger among senior citizens.

“Robyn’s experience as an attorney, public servant and agency head make her exceptionally qualified to fill the role of Georgia’s secretary of state,” Deal said. “She is a leader with brilliant intellect, high integrity and a wide range of experience in public service.”

Crittenden has an extensive resume in government.

She has served as general counsel at Morehouse College, chief operating officer for the Georgia Student Finance Commission, assistant vice chancellor for legal affairs for the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia and assistant county attorney in DeKalb County.

Georgia Secretary of State Robyn Crittenden.
Georgia Secretary of State Robyn Crittenden.

As commissioner for the Department of Human Services since July 2015, she has overseen a 9,400 employees and a $1.9 billion annual budget. The agency provides child support services, aging services, and family and children services.

She oversaw substantial changes in technology at the department, according to her bio. They include the creation of Georgia Gateway, a website that helps people get public assistance in Georgia, and the Child Support Mobile App, which allows parents to perform case actions on their phones.

As Georgia’s 28th secretary of state, Crittenden will be responsible for certifying the results of Tuesday’s election on Nov. 19. She’ll also manage business registrations and professional licensing.

“It’s widely known that she read every single word of every single contract that crossed her desk — a fact that both frustrated and impressed our staff,” said Gerlda Hines, chief financial officer at DHS whom Deal nominated to serve as the agency’s interim commissioner. “I know her to be a quick study and an administrator who is committed to transparency and to following the law.”

Crittenden will only serve as secretary of state for a couple of months.

runoff election Dec. 4  between Republican Brad Raffensperger and Democrat John Barrow will decide who wins a four-year term as secretary of state.

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