Kim Wyman labels herself the “accidental politician.”
The TROY graduate is Washington‘s 15th Secretary of
State. She is the second woman to hold the office and
brings more than a decade of government experience
to her position.
Wyman graduated with a Master of Public
Administration from TROY’s European division in 1990.
After marrying her husband, John, who was in the Army,
in 1988, they were stationed in Germany. There, Wyman
enrolled in the MPA program and flourished.
“There was this great cross-section of America, and it
helped expand my point of view,” Wyman said. “What
I got most from the program is to approach problem
solving with an open mind.”
A move to the state of Washington was next in her
future, and it was there that she began her political
“After my husband was stationed in Washington, I
applied for a job under the county auditor, and got a
fantastic opportunity to act as the county’s elections
supervisor,” Wyman said. “Then in 2000, my boss ran for
secretary of state and won, so I decided it was time for
the next step in my career.”
From there, Wyman ran for Thurston County Auditor
and won. It was the first of four consecutive successful
bids for the office. In 2012, when Secretary of State
Sam Reed retired, Wyman decided to run for the
position, and won the seat as the only Republican
elected to statewide office in the state of Washington
during that election.
Wyman, who earned her undergraduate degree
from California State University, Long Beach, became
Passion for voters’ rights
propels TROY graduate
into political career
By Chynna McKillion
passionate about voter rights after she had a bad
experience casting her absentee ballot in California
while living in Germany.
“There was one election cycle in Los Angeles County
when they couldn’t get us our ballots in time, and they
arrived a couple days after the election,” she said.
“That’s was the first time in my life when I realized
how important voting was to me. I had never missed an
election up until that point, and it was very frustrating,
but there was nothing I could do. It was a defining
moment in my career when [as county advisor] I was
responsible for those things, and I could make sure that
never happened to anybody else.”
And she was true to that purpose. In the late
1990s, Wyman’s county was a pioneer in absentee
ballot delivery, emailing the ballots to constituents.
It is now a federal law through the Uniformed and
Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act that electronic
submission for absentee ballots must be provided.
As Secretary of State, Wyman is striving to increase
voter turnout in her state, making sure every person
who is eligible to vote can do so and is informed.
She also wants to protect the history of the state by
expanding the archives.
Wyman credits her TROY degree with preparing her
for success in public service.
“I really believe that my degree from TROY put me
in a stronger position to land my first my job here
in Washington,” she said. “It gives you a professional
credibility because you’ve completed that coursework
and have that knowledge base. Follow that path and be
your best at it.”
McKillion, a current TROY student, is a special projects writer in the
Office of University Relations.