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B.A. Political Science, 2001
As secretary of the Commonwealth, Kelly Thomasson Mercer leads the effort to achieve Governor Northam's vision of creating a state government that is open and welcome to everyone, through diverse and inclusive appointments to the state’s boards and commissions, and the restoration of civil rights to returning citizens.
Mercer served in the McAuliffe administration since 2014 and was sworn in as the secretary of the Commonwealth in April 2016. She was reappointed as secretary by Governor Northam in 2018. She assists the governor in recruiting and appointing more than 3,000 qualified, service-minded individuals to serve on Virginia’s boards, commissions and councils. She also oversees the governor’s restoration of civil rights to returning citizens; facilitating the restoration of rights to more than 150,000 individuals to date. In addition, the office serves the Commonwealth through managing extraditions, clemency petitions, service of process, authenticating documents and commissioning notaries public. The secretary of the Commonwealth acts as the governor’s liaison to Virginia’s Indian tribes, as well as the Council on Women.
Before serving as secretary of the Commonwealth, Mercer worked for Senator Mark Warner for 13 years in a various capacities, including as projects director in his U.S. Senate office and as director of scheduling in the Office of the Governor.
Mercer is a native of Richmond and received her bachelor's degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. She lives in Ashland with her husband, Clark Mercer, and two children. She is involved in many local community activities, including serving on the board of the Ashland Main Street Association. She was appointed by Governor McAuliffe to serve on the Virginia Information Technology Advisory Council and also serves on the board of Lead Virginia.