Secretary of the State Denise Merrill on Thursday named Scott Bates of Stonington, a lawyer with a deep resume in domestic and foreign policy and politics, as the deputy secretary of the state, a position that provides legal and political advice.

He succeeds James F. Spallone, a former state House member who left Merrill’s office this week to become legal counsel to House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz.

Bates has been a congressional chief of staff, a senior policy aide on homeland security, and the secretary of state and legislative director in Virginia under former Gov. Douglas Wilder. His work on homeland security and nation-building has taken him to war zones in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and Bosnia.

“As the state’s chief elections official, my goals are to expand democratic participation, to ensure that every citizen’s rights and privileges are protected, that every vote is counted accurately and that every voice is heard,” Merrill said. “Scott Bates has a passion for these same issues that has taken him across five continents, working with people and parliaments to help make their voices heard. He will be a valuable addition to my office. I am honored that he has accepted this post.”

Bates currently is chairman of the board of directors for the Connecticut Port Authority. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and holds a graduate degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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