Gov. Perry Names Geoffrey S. Connor as Secretary of State
AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today announced the appointment of Geoffrey S. Connor to serve as Texas’ 104th Secretary of State and Luis Saenz as assistant secretary of state.
Connor has served as assistant secretary of state since 2001 and Saenz most recently has served as a senior advisor for community affairs to the governor.
“Geoff Connor has proven himself to be dedicated and capable public servant,” Perry said. “I know he will continue to ensure Texas elections are fair and open, and I’m confident he will continue my administration’s strong commitment to the Texas border.”
Connor led numerous international trade missions under two previous secretaries of state.
“With the merger of the Texas Economic Development into the Governor’s Office, Geoff’s experience in international affairs will be a strong asset,” Perry added. “International business development will be enhanced as my administration continues to focus on creating new jobs in Texas, and the Secretary of State will play a strong role in promoting Texas as a good location for international companies.”
As secretary of state, Connor will serve as the state’s chief elections officer. The Office of Secretary of State also is the official repository for official and business records, publishes government rules and regulations, and attests to the governor’s signature on official documents. In addition, the Secretary of State serves as liaison for the governor on border and Mexican affairs.
As assistant secretary of state, Connor was responsible for managing the office’s daily operations, including elections, business filings, border affairs and international protocol.
Connor previously worked as senior counsel in the energy section of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld. He has also served as general counsel for the former Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, now known as the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. He also worked as assistant commissioner and general counsel for the Texas Department of Agriculture, and deputy general counsel for former Gov. Bill Clements.
Connor received a bachelor’s degree in international studies from Southwest Texas State University and a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law. He is board certified in administrative law.
Saenz is a native of Carrizo Springs and as the governor’s senior advisor for community affairs has been the governor’s liaison to local elected officials, community groups and business and trade groups across the state.
“Luis Saenz brings to this post the highest credentials and ethical standards,” Perry said. “His wide-ranging experience will bring a new energy to the office.”
Saenz also served as political director for the governor’s successful election bid in November of 2002 and worked on Perry’s appointment and press staffs.
Before joining the Perry administration, Saenz was executive assistant to Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn. He also has served on the legislative staffs of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, former Sen. Phil Gramm and Congressman Henry Bonilla, and was a presidential appointee at the U.S. State Department during the administration of President George H.W. Bush. Saenz began his career as a research assistant at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., in 1990.