Secretary of State Robert Rodriguez
Robert J. Rodriguez is currently serving as the Secretary of State. He was nominated by Governor Kathy Hochul to serve as New York’s 68th Secretary of State. Mr. Rodriguez is a uniquely accomplished leader and former legislator, with civic and legislative successes that have been focused strategically on investing in and developing public-good infrastructure projects, creating good-paying jobs and addressing financial disparities for historically underrepresented minorities and low-income communities.
Brendan C. Hughes
Executive Deputy Secretary of State
In 2019, Brendan C. Hughes was appointed Executive Deputy Secretary of State at the New York State Department of State. A native of Delmar, NY, Mr. Hughes has served in various roles to advance strategic energy, economic development, technology, and other policy and program initiatives in New York State for over 15 years. Most recently, he played a vital operational role during the COVID-19 Global pandemic in setting up testing sites and later, vaccination sites across New York State.
Mr. Hughes began his career in public service as an intern with the Executive Chamber. While at the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, he helped launch the inaugural Regional Economic Development Councils and Consolidated Funding Application which has helped a vast spectrum of businesses, community, and economic development organizations access critical economic development support. Mr. Hughes continued his public service career serving as Deputy Commissioner at Empire State Development and then Assistant Secretary for Economic Development in the Executive Chamber. Previously, Mr. Hughes served as the Deputy Secretary for General Government and Technology in the Executive Chamber. He holds a BA in Political Science from Siena College.
Deputy Secretary of State for Business Development
As the Deputy Secretary of State for Business Development, Whitney Clark oversees the Division of Licensing Services and the Division of Corporations, State Records and UCC. The Division of Licensing Services regulates close to 900,000 occupational licensees and the Division of Corporations, State Records and UCC serves as the filing office for 2.7 million corporations and other business entities doing business in New York. Whitney works with staff, government partners and other stakeholders to craft policy and initiatives that serve the interests of those doing business with the Department of State.
A graduate of Albany Law School, Whitney is a former litigator with the Department of State and with law-firms in the Capital Region and metropolitan NYC area. Whitney is an eighteen-year veteran with the Department of State, where she has represented the Division of Licensing Services at administrative hearings, overseen the Division’s litigation unit and served as the Director of the Division of Licensing Services. Whitney was born and raised in the Adirondack Park where her family has resided for eight generations.
Acting General Counsel
David González serves as the Acting General Counsel for the New York State Department of State. As Acting General Counsel, David oversees the Office of General Counsel, which provides legal support to the New York Secretary of State and the diverse programs, divisions, boards, and commissions housed within the Department of State. Through this work, David has assisted with the enactment of new laws, including electronic notarization, electronic service of process, and “Words Matter” legislation replacing the terms “alien” and “illegal alien” to “noncitizen” and “undocumented noncitizen” in all New York State laws; as well as implementation of new laws, such as the law creating the body armor eligible professions program.
Prior to serving with DOS, David served as the primary land use attorney for the City of Albany, working with the City’s Building Department, Planning Department, and Zoning Board of Appeals. David also had extensive criminal litigation experience, having served for ten years prosecuting as an Assistant District Attorney with the Schenectady and Albany County District Attorney’s Offices, as well as a defense attorney in private practice. David graduated from Albany Law School and has been a New York State licensed attorney since January 2000. David appreciates practicing government law to engage in creative problem solving and to help provide the public with the efficient, professional government services it deserves.
In his free time, David likes to coach his kids in sports, mountain bike, and take on home improvement projects.
Deputy Secretary of State for Strategic Initiatives
Working within the Executive Office, Chuck works to research, analyze, address and implement projects and initiatives identified by agency executives as mission critical priorities, and serves as a trusted advisor to the Secretary of State and executive staff, working closely with agency program managers and administrators to coordinate resources across the agency to effectively achieve desired outcomes. In his role, he provides operational and implementation support of agency initiatives, Executive Chamber directives, and administrative functions.
Chuck initially joined state service with the Department of Health as a Public Management Intern, and has spent the past 26 years in progressively responsible administrative and managerial roles, including positions focused on human resources, operations management, and program administration. He joined the Department of State in 2019 as Director of Human Resources, and left briefly to serve in the Executive Chamber as their first Director of Human Resources, from late 2021 to early 2023. He returned to DOS in a new role that allows him to utilize his extensive governmental background to support priority agency goals and initiatives. He earned his B.A. in Criminal Justice from SUNY Plattsburgh, and his M.P.A., with a concentration in HR Management, from UAlbany’s Rockefeller College.
A native of Dutchess County, Chuck has called the Capital Region home since 1994.
Deputy Secretary of State for Public Affairs
Prior to joining DOS, she served as Deputy Commissioner for Communications and Operations at the Office of General Services overseeing all external and internal communications. Her portfolio included the Press Office, Digital and Media Services Center, Convention and Cultural Events and the Curatorial and Visitor Services programs. She also served as liaison with the Office of the Governor on events, equipment and facility needs and operations.
Before her time at OGS, she was the Deputy Communications Director for the Governor’s office managing 12 state agency communication offices, including DOS, as part of the economic development portfolio.
Michelle served as Press Officer for the Office of the Attorney General. In 2009, she began her state service career with the New York State Department of Labor at the height of the recession where she led outreach and marketing efforts to help the growing number of unemployed New Yorkers get unemployment benefits and jobs.
Prior to state service, Michelle spent nearly 20 years in various positions in television news including reporter, Executive Producer and Assistant News Director.
Deputy Secretary for Agency Transformation and External Affairs
Matt Tebo joined the DOS team in the summer of 2007. From 2007 until 2017, he served as the Department’s Legislative Counsel and its Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. Demonstrating an aptitude for process re-engineering and an in-depth understanding of the Department’s many functions, Matt became the Deputy Secretary for Agency Transformation and External Affairs in 2017.
In this role, Matt leads a team that focuses on adding efficiency to the Department’s processes, while designing and deploying transformative information technology systems. Besides efficiency of function, this team seeks to create platforms that also provide better services to the People of the State of New York. In 2021, Matt is proud that the Department was able to replace its 40-year-old DOS Corps system with an efficient alternative that allows businesses to form online in many instances. The team continued its success in 2022 and 2023, launching state-of-the-art systems related the service of process, notarial licensure, and not-for-profit oversight. Matt also serves as the designated chairperson of the NYS Fire Prevention and Building Code Council, the body statutorily responsible for updating the State’s Building, Fire, and Energy Codes.
Prior to coming to DOS, Matt served in the New York State Assembly as the Assistant Counsel to the Majority Leader and Assistant Floor Counsel. In that role, he worked closely with Majority Leaders Paul Tokasz and Ron Canestrari on floor operations, including as parliamentarian when needed.
Matt is a graduate of Albany Law School and Skidmore College.
In his free time, Matt trains for and competes in Ironman 70.3s as well as short- and intermediate-distance triathlons. He currently lives in Clifton Park with his wife of 17 years and two children.
Director of Government Relations
In 2017, Justin Cartwright joined the Department of State as the Director of Government Relations. Prior to joining the Department of State Justin served as Director of Legislative Affairs at the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. Justin began his state service in 2004 working for the New York State Assembly Communications and Information Services Office in various roles. During this time, he also worked for the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee as a Field Operative and later as a Political Director.
At DOS Justin serves as the point of contact for state and local elected officials as well as special interests who are requesting an audience with the Department. This role involves resolving constituent inquires, answering questions about Department programs/regulations and assisting with legislative initiatives being proposed or enacted. Additionally, he serves as the Departments liaison between other agencies when a multiple agency response is needed.
Justin resides in East Greenbush with his wife Jessica and their twin boys.