NAACP Boston President To Run For Secretary of the Commonwealth

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By Michael P. Norton
State House News Service

Promising to promote transparency and voting rights, attorney and life sciences executive Tanisha Sullivan, president of the Boston branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, launched her campaign for secretary of state on Tuesday morning.

A University of Virginia alumna who earned graduate degrees in both law and business from Boston College, Sullivan spent most of her legal career representing life sciences companies. As a volunteer, she has focused on improving opportunities for workers, small business owners, and communities, according to her campaign. She took the volunteer post leading the local NAACP chapter in 2017, helming an organization committed to eliminating systemic racism and discrimination.

“We are at an inflection point in our democracy, and the challenges before us demand urgent, collective action,” said Sullivan. “In light of obstructionism that continues to stand in the way of federal action on voting rights, it falls to state leaders to protect and expand the right of every Massachusetts resident to participate in our government, and to show what a truly inclusive, representative democracy looks like. Especially now, we cannot accept incrementalism. This moment deserves more. Our communities deserve more. And, together, we’ll deliver more.”

Secretary of State William Galvin hasn’t said yet if he plans to seek re-election this year.

After losing his bid for state treasurer in 1990 to Republican Joe Malone, Galvin has run off seven straight wins. He beat Democratic primary challengers in 2018 (Josh Zakim) and 2006 (Jon Bonifaz). Galvin’s list of defeated Republican opponents includes Anthony Amore, David D’arcangelo, William Campbell, Jack E. Robinson, Dale Jenkins Jr., and Arthur Chase.

A statewide post, the secretary of state’s office oversees a broad suite of functions, ranging from elections and voting to corporations and securities, public records, lobbyists, the decennial census, and historical commission and state archives.

Raised in Brockton, Sullivan’s family has roots in Boston, where her father retired in 2014 as the school leader at the John D. O’Bryant School. Her mother worked in media before opening a home daycare, according to her campaign, and “helping connect and amplify Black-owned businesses across New England as publisher of the Black Pages of New England.”

According to LinkedIn, Sullivan’s career at Genzyme, now Sanofi Genzyme, dates to 2009. Her current job there is associate general counsel, industrial affairs. From 2013 to 2015, she was chief equity officer for the Boston Public Schools.

Sullivan is also a member of the board of advisors at WGBH, according to LinkedIn, and a member of the board of advisors at the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy, and was state coordinator of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority for six years.


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