Mackenzie Murphy

Mackenzie Murphy is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at

Gov. Greg Abbott (R) appoints John Scott (R) as secretary of state

On Oct. 21, 2021, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott appointed John Scott as secretary of state

Scott replaces Ruth Ruggero Hughs, who resigned in May of 2021 after the Senate Nominating Commission refused to take up her nomination. 

Texas is one of nine states where secretaries of state are appointed by the governor. Scott’s appointment will have to be approved by the state Senate. The legislature adjourned on May 31 and will not convene again until Jan. 10, 2023. 

Gov. Abbott has appointed five secretaries of state during his tenure as governor. 

Michigan state Rep. Andrea Schroeder dies

Michigan state Rep. Andrea Schroeder (R) died from stomach cancer while serving in office on Oct. 1, 2021. Schroeder was first elected to represent House District 43 in 2018.  She most recently won re-election in 2020, defeating Nicole Breadon (D) 59.7% to 40.3%.

When a vacancy occurs in the Michigan State Legislature, the governor must call for a special election to fill the vacancy, which should be held whenever the next general election is scheduled. If the vacancy happens after the statewide primary election, the leaders of the respective party organizations in the district can submit a list of nominees to be voted on by party leadership. The nominee must be voted on no later than 21 days after the vacancy occurred.

Michigan is one of 25 states to fill state legislative vacancies through special elections.

This is the 20th vacancy in 2021 caused by the death of a serving legislator. So far this year, there have been 109 vacancies in 40 state legislatures. Sixty-seven (67) of those vacancies have been filled.

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Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew Strickler resigns

Matthew Strickler resigned from his position as Virginia’s Secretary of Natural Resources in September 2021. The press release announcing Strickler’s departure stated he was leaving to pursue “new opportunities where he will continue his excellent work of protecting our nation’s resources.”

Governor Ralph Northam (D) appointed Ann Jennings, Virginia’s deputy secretary of Natural and Historic Resources, as Stickler’s replacement. Jennings was sworn in on Sept. 27. 

Strickler has served as secretary for Virginia’s Department of Natural resources since 2018. He previously worked as a senior policy advisor to Democratic members of the House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources. Prior to working in the Virginia Statehouse, Strickler worked as a legislative assistant to Northam during his tenure in the Virginia State Senate. 

Virginia’s secretary of natural and historic resources is an appointed state executive position. The secretary heads the Department of Natural Resources and oversees five departments relating to the area’s natural and historical resources.

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