Along with Wayne State alumna Rashida Tlaib’s historic election win, former WSU Law School Dean Jocelyn Benson is set to become the first Democratic secretary of state since 1995.

Benson secured the secretary of state position with a 300,000 vote lead over her Republican opponent, Mary Treder Lang, as of noon Nov. 7, according to The Detroit News.

“I’m really excited to get to work for the people of Michigan,” Benson said. “I think we have a lot of work ahead of us and I’m excited to be at the helm of this important office at this important moment.”

Benson was appointed interim dean of Wayne Law in December 2012 then named dean in June 2014, making her the youngest woman to head an accredited law school in the nation at the age of 36, according to a 2016 Wayne Law press release.

“The opportunity to run a public law school within a larger university gave me an important skill set to know how to run an institution successfully,” Benson said. “I’m proud that I got that experience now and I’m excited to take it to Lansing.”

According to her website, Benson’s campaign centers on five priorities: increasing government transparency, no-reason absentee ballot voting, heightening election security, eliminating fee increases and a 30-minute guarantee for citizens at branch offices.

“We’re going to take seriously the need to cut our wait times at branch offices and start implementing the changes that need to happen so we can get closer to that goal,” Benson said.

Benson previously ran an unsuccessful campaign for secretary of state in 2010.

“To me, this is not a partisan office,” Benson said. “I think it’s important to ensure that it’s run well and effectively and that our democracy is accessible and secure and that the branch offices are efficiently being used to save our citizens time and money.

“I’m excited to do that work, and to me, it’s never been a question of partisanship at all. It’s about who’s the most qualified person to do the job.”


Miriam Marini is editor-in-chief of The South End. She can be reached at miriammtse@gmail.com. Photo courtesy of the Jocelyn Benson for Secretary of State campaign.

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