By Timothy Cox
The Statehouse File
INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Mitch Daniels on Friday appointed state Sen. Connie Lawson, R-Danville to replace the convicted Charlie White as Indiana secretary of state.
“Indiana has probably never been served by a secretary of state better prepared on day one,” Daniels said.
Newly appointed Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson
Lawson has served in the Senate since 1996 and is Indiana’s second female secretary of state. She will remain in office until the 2015 conclusion of White’s intended term. Lawson left the Indiana Senate to accept her new position.
“Although it’s sad to think of leaving the Senate and no longer serving the constituents,” she said, “I will be serving them in a different way.”
Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said Lawson’s presence in the Senate will be missed but that he is confident she will perform well in her role as secretary of state.
“Connie Lawson is the consummate professional: bright, hard-working, dedicated, and of the highest integrity. She is also one of the finest people you will ever meet. She will be an outstanding secretary of state for the people of Indiana, and will prove to be a very popular choice,” Long said.
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday that White was a valid candidate during the 2010 state elections, but White was barred from his position last month for a conviction of voter fraud and other felonies.
Had the state’s high court ruled that White was not eligible to appear on the ballot, 2010 Democratic runner-up Vop Osili would have taken the position.
Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker had pushed to have Osili installed in the office, but wished Lawson well Friday.
“We hope she will uphold the election code and work across the aisle to protect and expand the Hoosier electorate and not disenfranchise voters,” Parker said.
“secSen. Lawson has a tough road ahead of her to restore integrity to an office stained by the record of the convicted felon who most recently occupied it. We hope, for all Hoosiers, that she is able to successfully rebuild.”
Timothy Cox is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.