It has been a privilege to serve our citizens as their West Virginia’s Secretary of State. I am honored by their trust and confidence in my work and my record. This record of positive results is the reason I am running for re-election. We are making a difference like never before in the office, but we still have more to do.
As your Secretary of State, I have delivered on the promise of innovation with online services that have saved businesses time and money so they could create good paying jobs.
Many of these initiatives have received national attention and have been copied by other states to use. Our Business Industry Growth (BIG) Map won a national award from the National Association of Secretaries of State. The BIG Map allows people to research businesses that have opened and closed in a specific time period, county or town.
We are cutting through red tape by enhancing our Business 4 WV business portal for easier one stop shop for businesses to expand or start up. And we’re helping people become business owners. Our Young Entrepreneurs Act allows business owners under the age of 30 to start a business and have the startup fee waived.
With a record of saving money and cutting costs, I have given more than 4 million dollars back to taxpayers. But I am always looking for way to better serve. The SOS Office registers about 90,000 corporations and LLCs. We do not register Sole Proprietorships. That is done in the Tax Department.
I have been pushing to have those businesses register in the SOS office. It would bring efficiency to the businesses and the process. We could have all businesses in the state on one database and cut down on confusion.
I have delivered on my promise to serve our military members with my veterans work initiative, “Boots to Business”, that helps our returning heroes start their own business, create jobs and say thank you to them for their service and sacrifice. This Veterans Initiative waives the startup fee for veterans to start their business then waives the annual report fee for the next four years.
I have delivered on the promise of modernizing our elections. By implementing secure Online Voter Registration, I’ve lifted barriers and made the election process more accessible to every eligible voter, at the same time, protecting the integrity of our elections.
In fact, according to a report done by the PEW Charitable Trust, a non-partisan organization that measures the overall Election administration of states with their Election Performance Index, West Virginia ranked 48th nationally when I first took office. Their current performance rankings, which were done after the 2014 Elections, show that West Virginia is now ranked 26th overall, which is a 19 spot improvement. While the improvements are something I am very proud of, I will not stop working and improving our Elections until we are ranked number one in the nation.
The next step in modernizing our elections is working with the DMV, county clerks and voting advocates to implement Automatic Voter Registration that will make it easy for citizens to register. Automatic Voter Registration will save money, increase accuracy and curb potential fraud.
I have delivered on the promise of innovation that has brought transparency, accessibility and accountability. We have done that through live webcasts that give an unfiltered look at government. Our Freedom of Information (FOIA) Database provides greater transparency by allowing the public to see the FOIA requests of state agencies and the response from the agency.
We could not have made this progress without the work of the dedicated staff that is ready to build on these successes. We cannot return to a backward way of thinking.
This office is about serving the public regardless of party affiliation or philosophy. The employees of the Secretary of State’s Office assist all West Virginians. And we have been honored and recognized for that work and initiatives.
I will continue to keep the office on the forefront of innovation, transparency, fiscal responsibility and providing superior customer services. I would be honored to have your vote.
Natalie E. Tennant