Penn State Forum: Pedro A. Cortes, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Title: "A Historical Perspective on Voting in Pennsylvania" Cortes was nominated as secretary of the commonwealth by Gov. Edward G. Rendell on April 2, 2003, and was unanimously confirmed by the Senate, making him the first confirmed Latino cabinet member in Pennsylvania history. Previously Cortes was the executive director of the Pennsylvania Governor's Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs. As executive director, he made recommendations to the governor and the administration on policies, procedures and legislation that enhanced the status of the Latino community in Pennsylvania. As the governor's liaison to the Latino community, he ensured that state government was accessible, accountable and responsive to the needs of Latinos and that strategies and programs were developed to enhance the community's social and economic status. Cortes has been the recipient of numerous awards including: Hispanic Business Magazine's "100 Most Influential Hispanics in the United States"; Central Penn Business Journal's top "Forty Under 40" business leaders in Central Pennsylvania; American Lawyer Media "Lawyers on the Fast Track," a distinction bestowed upon Pennsylvania lawyers under 40 years of age; and Penn State's Alumni Fellow, award. Cortes earned his bachelor of science degree in hotel, restaurant and travel administration from the University of Massachusetts; a master in public administration from Penn State and a law degree from Penn State Dickinson School of Law. He also holds a certificate in public sector human resources management from Penn State.