David Elliott '83, P'16, P'18


David Elliott '83, P'16, P'18
Major: Computer Information Systems
Job Title:
Policy Director
Office of the Secretary of State of Washington
Host Date: Tuesday, January 9, 2018
Time: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Location: Olympia, WA

What student groups/clubs/activities were you involved in when you were a student at Puget Sound?

  • KUPS
  • Trail
  • Tamanawas
  • Sailing Club

How would you describe your role and organization?

The Office of the Secretary of State (OSOS) is lead by Kim Wyman, the elected Secretary of State. She is third in line to the Governor and has responsibility for Elections Administration, Corporate registration, the State Library, and the state's archives.

As Policy Director, I write legislation, analyze other legislative proposals, and communicate the Secretary's policy choices to the legislature and the Governor. Often the job involves explaining the interplay between federal, state, and local government roles and responsibilities, and acting as a researcher and historian. Next year's topics will include changing the date of the Presidential Primary, signing up 17 year old students to be voters, Automatic Voter Registration, and other topics.

How would the skills and competencies gained through a liberal arts education be beneficial in the type of work you do?

Because the office has such broad responsibility, I am well served by having studied a variety of subjects. Liberal Arts education promotes thinking, careful examination of a subject, and the deconstruction of the variety of points of view and motivations driving the various actors in the legislative field.

What can a student expect to experience by job shadowing you?

During the legislative session there should be an opportunity to see many of the elements of the legislative process. I plan to conduct an exercise in reading and analyzing proposed legislation, and (depending on scheduling) an opportunity to observe a legislative hearing. I will also be arranging an opportunity to meet with one of our attorneys to discuss that role in the process, and there may be time to meet with Governor's staff, lobbyists, or legislative staff members.