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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nellie Gorbea
Nellie Gorbea.jpg
Secretary of State of Rhode Island
Assumed office
January 6, 2015
GovernorGina Raimondo
Daniel McKee
Preceded byRalph Mollis
Personal details
Born (1967-07-12) July 12, 1967 (age 53)
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Steven D'Hondt
EducationPrinceton University (BA)
Columbia University (MPA)
WebsiteGovernment website

Nellie Margarita Gorbea[1] (born July 12, 1967) is an American politician. A member of the Democratic Party, she is the Secretary of State of Rhode Island. Gorbea is the first Hispanic to win statewide office in New England.

Early life and education

Gorbea was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She earned a bachelor's degree from Princeton University's School of International and Public Affairs and a master's degree in public administration from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.[2][3] She moved to Rhode Island in the mid-1990s.[4]


Gorbea was Deputy Secretary of State under Secretary of State Matthew A. Brown from 2002 through 2006.[4][5] She worked for Fleet Securities, was the program officer for economic and community development for the Rhode Island Foundation, and founded the Rhode Island Latino Civic Fund. Before resigning in July 2013 to run for election as Secretary of State, she was executive director of Housing Works Rhode Island for five and a half years.[2][4]

Incumbent Secretary of State Ralph Mollis was ineligible to run for reelection in the 2014 elections because of term limits. Gorbea campaigned for the position on a platform of making elections fair, fast and accurate, ensuring that Rhode Island businesses can easily start and thrive, bringing transparency to government, and increasing civic engagement.[2] She defeated Guillaume de Ramel in the Democratic primary[6] and Republican nominee John Carlevale in the general election.[7] She was sworn in as Secretary of State on January 6, 2015, becoming the first Hispanic to hold statewide office in New England.[5]

In 2016, Gorbea ushered in legislation to allow for stiffer penalties for violations of lobbying rules.

In 2017, Gorbea worked to pass automatic voter registration; the bill, which automatically registers Rhode Islanders when they interact with the state Department of Motor Vehicles, was signed into law by Governor Gina Raimondo, making Rhode Island the ninth state in the United States to do so.[8][9]

In November 2018, Gorbea was re-elected to a second term with over 67% of the vote.[10]

In 2018, Gorbea worked to modernize Rhode Island's notary public laws to allow for electronic notarizations for the first time in Rhode Island.[11]

Personal life

Gorbea lives in North Kingstown.[4] She and her husband, Steven D'Hondt, have three daughters.[12][13]

Electoral history

Rhode Island Secretary of State Democratic Primary Election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Nellie Gorbea 58,444 51.4
Democratic Guillaume De Ramel 55,237 48.6
Rhode Island Secretary of State Election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Nellie Gorbea 186,899 60.5
Republican John Carlevale Sr. 121,466 39.3
Write-ins Write-ins 770 0.2
Rhode Island Secretary of State Democratic Primary Election, 2018
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Nellie Gorbea 95,103 100.0
Rhode Island Secretary of State Election, 2018
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Nellie Gorbea 247,276 67.4
Republican Pat Cortellessa 119,293 32.5
Write-ins Write-ins 540 0.1


  1. ^ Gorbea, Nellie Margarita (1988). "Women's Organizations and the Transition to Democracy in Argentina". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ a b c Edward Fitzpatrick (July 25, 2013). "Crowded field shaping up for Rhode Island secretary of state race". Providence Journal. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  3. ^ "Gorbea for secretary of state". Providence Journal (editorial). October 16, 2014. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d Edward Fitzpatrick (July 25, 2013). "Nellie Gorbea resigning post at HousingWorks RI to run for secretary of state". Providence Journal. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  5. ^ a b Karen Lee Ziner (November 4, 2014). "Gorbea wins R.I. secretary of state seat; becomes first Latino to hold statewide office in New England". Providence Journal. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  6. ^ "Gorbea victorious in secretary of state Democratic primary". WPRI. September 9, 2014. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  7. ^ "Gorbea defeats Carlevale in RI Secretary of State race". WPRI. November 4, 2014. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  8. ^ Rhode Island Becomes Ninth State to Adopt Automatic Voter Registration, Brennan Center for Justice (July 17, 2017).
  9. ^ Katherine Gregg, Political Scene: Gorbea gets a win with voter registration law, Providence Journal (July 30, 2017).
  10. ^ "Rhode Island Election Results". The New York Times. November 6, 2018. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
  11. ^ Cheit, Ross E. (June 4, 2015). "Secrets & Scandals: Reforming Rhode Island, 1986–2006". Public Integrity. 17 (3): 313. doi:10.1080/10999922.2015.1034622. ISSN 1099-9922. S2CID 141929002.
  12. ^ Karen Lee Ziner (November 4, 2014). "Gorbea accepts victory in R.I. secretary of state race, first Hispanic in N.E. to win statewide office". Providence Journal. Archived from the original on November 6, 2014.
  13. ^ "About Secretary Of State Nellie M. Gorbea". Rhode Island Department of State. Retrieved December 30, 2017.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Ralph Mollis
Secretary of State of Rhode Island
This page was last edited on 31 March 2021, at 18:21
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