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Pedro Cortés
""Cortes Self Photo 2008.jpg
"Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
In office
January 20, 2015 – October 11, 2017
Governor "Tom Wolf
Preceded by "Carol Aichele
Succeeded by "Robert Torres (Acting)
In office
April 2, 2003 – June 10, 2010
Governor "Ed Rendell
Preceded by Michael Weaver
Succeeded by Basil Merenda
Personal details
Born (1966-05-28) May 28, 1966 (age 51)
"Carolina, "Puerto Rico, "U.S.
Political party "Democratic
Spouse(s) Lissette Lizardi
Children 1 daughter
Education "University of Massachusetts,
"Pennsylvania State University,
"Pennsylvania State University,

Pedro A. Cortés (born May 28, 1966) twice served as "Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (April 2003 - June 2010 & January 2015 - October 2017). He was the first confirmed Latino Cabinet member and the longest serving Secretary of State in Pennsylvania history.[1] Cortés was also the first Puerto Rican Secretary of State in the United States, outside of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.


Education and training[edit]

Cortés earned his Bachelor of Science in Hotel, Restaurant and Travel Administration from the "University of Massachusetts Amherst, a Master of Public Administration from "Penn State Harrisburg, and a "Juris Doctor from "Penn State Dickinson Law. He also holds a certificate in Public Sector Human Resources Management from "Penn State Harrisburg and Doctorate Degrees "honoris causa from "King's College, "Harcum College and "Widener University School of Law.

In 2004, Cortés was one of 40 state leaders from across the country selected to participate in the Toll Fellowship Program sponsored by The Council of State Governments. His peers elected him 2004 Class Representative.

Public service[edit]

A lawyer by training, Cortés was the Senior Advisor for Latino Affairs to two Pennsylvania Governors. As the Executive Director of the Governor's Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs, he made recommendations to the Governors and their administrations on policies, procedures and legislation that enhanced the status of the Latino community in Pennsylvania. As the Governor's liaison to the Latino community, he ensured that state government was accessible, accountable and responsive to the needs of Latinos and that strategies and programs were developed to enhance the community's social and economic status. Secretary Cortés’ professional pursuits have also included work with the State Civil Service Commission and the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.

For years Cortés has participated in numerous community and government-related organizations, including the "National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS). NASS is the oldest national nonpartisan professional organization of public officials in the United States. From July 2008 to July 2009, Secretary Cortés fulfilled the role of NASS President, making him the first Pennsylvania Secretary of State to enjoy that distinction in the organization’s 104-year history. Under his leadership, the association strengthened cooperative relationships between the states and actively engaged the White House, Congress and federal agencies. During the same period, NASS developed effective public policies in the areas of elections administration, voter participation, business services, securities, international relations and state heritage.

In December 2009 Cortés was elected Chair of the Pennsylvania Interbranch Commission for Gender, Racial and Ethnic Fairness. Formed in 2005 at the recommendation of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court with the concurrence of the governor and legislative leaders, the Commission's purpose is to ensure that people of every race, gender and ethnic background are treated fairly and respectfully throughout all offices of state government.

Cortés was nominated "Pennsylvania Secretary of State by Governor Tom Wolf on January 20, 2015 and confirmed by the Senate on June 2, 2015.[2] He previously served as Secretary of the Commonwealth from 2003 to 2010. At that time Cortés was the first confirmed Latino Cabinet member and longest serving Secretary of State in Pennsylvania history.

Personal life[edit]

A native of "Carolina, Puerto Rico, Cortés has lived in "Harrisburg, "Pennsylvania since 1990. He is married to Lissette Lizardi-Cortés and they have a daughter, Gabriela.

Awards and recognition[edit]


"" Media related to Pedro Cortés at Wikimedia Commons

  1. ^ Cortes, Pedro. "Personal Biography". 
  2. ^ Field, Nick (3 June 2015). "PA-Gov: Wolf Celebrates Cabinet Confirmations". PoliticsPA. Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Michael Weaver
"Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Succeeded by
Basil Merenda
Preceded by
"Carol Aichele
"Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Succeeded by
"Robert Torres
) ) WikipediaAudio is not affiliated with Wikipedia or the WikiMedia Foundation.