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Washington secretary of state takes top election security role with Biden administration

Kim Wyman, a Republican, accepted a new job as election security leader for the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman, who challenged former President Donald Trump's false claims of election fraud in 2020, has accepted a new job heading the Biden administration's effort to protect future elections as Senior Election Security Lead for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

Her resignation as secretary of state will take effect Nov. 19.

CISA is the agency within the Department of Homeland Security that is responsible for safeguarding the U.S. elections.

Wyman, who has served as Washington's secretary of state since 2013, released a statement Tuesday, saying in part, "I am honored to be able to share nearly three decades of experience and expertise at the federal level to support CISA’s efforts to safeguard our election systems from cyberattacks and enhance the public’s confidence in our elections. As I assume this new role, I remain committed to protecting the integrity of our elections, and working closely with local and state elections officials nationwide to bolster this foundational pillar of our democracy."

She also called leading her team to serve Washington state and oversee its elections her "highest honor and achievement." 

CISA Director Jen Easterly released a statement Tuesday, as well, saying in part, "Kim’s reputation is second to none and I am personally thrilled to have her lead CISA’s election security efforts. Her decades of experience, unparalleled expertise, and unimpeachable integrity have earned her bipartisan respect at every level of government."

Wyman has led elections in Washington state for years, and she was reelected to a third term in November, making her the highest-ranking Republican on the West Coast to hold a statewide office.

During the 2020 presidential election, Wyman vigorously defended the security of Washington state's election and rejected claims made by Trump that the election could be compromised. 

Following the insurrection at the Capitol in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021, Wyman said the Republican party needs to "take a step back" and "do some soul searching" to figure out how to reunite and move forward with more positive messaging.

"She is a great fit to lead these crucial efforts at the national level and I have no doubt that her expertise, energy and focus will lead to more secure elections and help restore faith in the democratic process," Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement. “I will appoint her replacement in the coming weeks, and I believe that regardless of who it is, they will continue the vital work that Kim and her staff have put in place.”

Whomever Inslee appoints will hold the position until the next general election in November 2022. 

The position has been held by a Republican since 1964, according to the Washington Secretary of State's Office.

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