In his inaugural address on January 1, 1995, Secretary of the Commonwealth William Francis Galvin pledged to "seek to open as wide as possible to meaningful participation by citizens the processes that affect our daily lives." From elections to business transactions, from warning and protecting investors to registering record numbers of voters, Secretary Galvin has constantly renewed that pledge.
Elected to the Commonwealth’s third-ranked constitutional office in 1994, Secretary Galvin has acted as the chief information officer of Massachusetts to spotlight issues that affect the average citizen: fraud in the finance industry, credit card pressures on students, or HMO costs.
William Galvin was born on September 17, 1950 in the Brighton section of Boston where he lives today with his wife, Eileen, and daughter, Bridget. He was educated in the Brighton parochial schools, and graduated cum laude from Boston College in 1972 and Suffolk University Law School in 1975.
He began his political career in 1972 as an aide to the Governor’s Council while an undergraduate, and won a special election to the General Court as state representative from the Allston-Brighton district the same year he graduated from Law School. He is a member of the Massachusetts and Federal Bars.
He served as Chairman of the Committee on Government Regulations and was the Democratic nominee for state treasurer in 1990. In 1994, he was elected the 28th Secretary of the Commonwealth.
Sensitive to the Commonwealth’s rich and storied history, Secretary Galvin, the chairman of the Massachusetts Historical Commission, has overseen the awards of preservation grants to sites in numerous communities, and a grant program that helps cities and towns preserve their historical records. Because, as he said in his inaugural, "I know that if that heritage is not preserved now it will be lost to future generations."
Besides being the Commonwealth’s chief elections officer, Galvin is one of the state’s premier election law specialists, an experience that helped prompt him to decertify the Votomatic punch card system in Massachusetts three years before its notoriety in Florida.
Overseeing the "Motor Voter Law" which made it more convenient for people to register to vote, Secretary Galvin implemented the Central Voter Registry, the first statewide network of election records. In 2000, the number of registered voters in Massachusetts topped four million for the first time.
Designated the state liaison with the U.S. Census Bureau, Secretary Galvin targeted traditionally undercounted populations in a campaign that saw the Massachusetts census count become larger than predicted.
He has moved to streamline the process of new business formation, and has made the Commonwealth’s Corporations Division a welcoming point of entry for new economic activity. Corporations today can file their annual reports through the Internet, and other on-line filings will follow, saving companies money and time.
During his term, the General Court placed several Registries of Deeds in the Office of the Secretary, including those in Berkshire, Essex, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, Middlesex, Suffolk and Worcester.
Secretary Galvin, as the state’s chief securities regulator, has aggressively protected investors against fraud and recovered millions of dollars for victims of scam artists and rogue dealers. All financial planners and advisors must register with the Securities Division, as do brokers and dealers. To counter new angles to old schemes, he created an Internet Fraud Unit in the Securities Division. As he promised in his inaugural, he set up "a toll-free information line where investors will have the opportunity to look before they leap."
Galvin has been an active participant in the National Association of Secretaries of State, serving first as Chairman of the Standing Committee on Securities, then as Co-Chairman of the Committee on Presidential Primaries.
At the state and national levels, Secretary Galvin has acted to achieve the goals of public service that he described as he began his second term, "advancing the opportunity of our citizens: the opportunity to speak out, to vote, to obtain justice, and to pursue health and happiness, to create strong communities brimming with hope for our citizens and our children."