Rokita Appoints New Deputy Secretary of State

Contact: AJ Freeney-Ruiz

Indianapolis, IN - Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita today appointed Paul Okeson as his new Deputy Secretary of State and Chief of Staff to replace Heather Willis, who resigned those roles last week. Recently serving as the Indiana State Department of Health Director of Special Institutions, Okeson was responsible for the financial, legislative and program direction of the Indiana Veterans' Home, Indiana Soliders and Sailors' Children's Home, and Silvercrest Development Center. While with the Department of Health, Okeson oversaw a budget of approximately $50 million and roughly 650 employees.

Okeson, a resident of Fishers, previously served as Regional Sales Director for Monster Worldwide in Indianapolis where he was responsible for sales efforts encompassing a $6.5 million sales budget covering a seven state region. Okeson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne.

"Paul brings a wealth of knowledge in management from both the private sector and within state government," Rokita said. "While Heather's departure will be greatly missed, the addition of Paul as our new Chief of Staff ushers in a new era for this office."

Willis leaves the Secretary of State's office after more than six years - serving as Deputy and Chief of Staff since Rokita's first term began in January 2003. Under Willis' guidance, Rokita's office maintained a balanced budget each year while expanding services available to customers. During Willis' tenure, she helped to institute an array of election and business services reforms as well as furthered Secretary Rokita's goals of advancing the office's e-Services initiatives. Always involved in volunteer efforts within the community, Willis leaves Rokita's office to serve as the executive director for a new not-for-profit corporation.

Okeson, who begins his work with Rokita's office today, said, "I am extremely grateful of Secretary Rokita's confidence in me for this most important role. I would also like to thank Commissioner Dr. Monroe and Deputy Commissioner Uhl for the opportunity and experience they gave me at the Department of Health. The great work done under Secretary Rokita's leadership to date has made this a textbook transition, and I look forward to continuing the success in my new position."