Harrisburg, PA – Secretary of State Pedro A. Cortés is a recipient of the 2017 Civic and Public Service Award by the Martin Luther King Jr. Salute to Greatness.
Secretary Cortés, who is in his second tenure as Secretary of State, received the award Saturday, January 14, at the Salute to Greatness Awards Dinner held in Flourtown, PA. The event was organized by the Trina Antoinette Adams Center for Keeping Children First, Inc. in partnership with the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, GA. The Salute to Greatness Award was started by Coretta Scott King as a means of maintaining the philosophies and teachings of Dr. King. The annual awards dinner is an opportunity to acknowledge those who epitomize and exemplify the hopes and the “Dream” of Dr. King.
“Secretary Cortés has faithfully worked to help make Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream a reality,” said The Honorable Judge Doris Smith-Ribner, a 2016 Salute to Greatness Award recipient who nominated Secretary Cortés. “He actively works toward the betterment of maintaining MLK’s beliefs, devotion and dedication by restoring hope through his vision for ensuring civic excellence and public service for all.”
Secretary Cortés received his second appointment as Secretary of State from Governor Tom Wolf in 2015. He previously served in the post from 2003 to 2010. In his first tenure, Secretary Cortés was the first confirmed Latino Cabinet member in the Commonwealth and became the longest-serving Secretary of State in Pennsylvania history.
He was also the first Pennsylvanian to serve as President of the National Association of Secretaries of State in the Association’s 104-year history.
Cortés began his commonwealth government career in 1993 as a caseworker with the Department of Public Welfare. Subsequently, he worked as a recruiter and attorney with the State Civil Service Commission and was the Executive Director of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs for two Pennsylvania governors. Prior to his most recent appointment as Secretary of State, Cortés was a partner with the law firm of Haggerty, Goldberg, Schleifer and Kupersmith.
The Secretary has been the recipient of numerous awards, including: Hispanic Business Magazine's 100 Most Influential Hispanics in the United States; Multicultural Affairs Congress' Delaware Valley's Most Influential Latino; Legal Intelligencer's Diverse Attorney of the Year; and The Pennsylvania State University Alumni Fellow.
Cortés earned a Bachelor of Science in Hotel, Restaurant and Travel Administration from the University of Massachusetts, a Master of Public Administration from Penn State University, and a Juris Doctor from Penn State Dickinson School of Law.
The other recipients of the 2017 Salute to Greatness awards were: Harvey Bryant, M.D., Lifetime Achievement Award for Community Service; Lois Schmidt, Lifetime Achievement Award for Equality; Dr. Richard C. Glazer, Esq., executive director of the PA Innocence Project, Salute to Greatness Freedom Award; Marissa Boyers Bluestine, legislative director of the PA Innocence Project, Salute to Greatness Legislative Reform Award; Nilam Sanghvi, staff attorney at the PA Innocence Project, Salute to Greatness Pro Bono Award; Hayes Hunt, Esq., partner at the law firm of Cozen O’Connor, Salute to Greatness Justice and Social Equality Award; and Tyrone Jones, Salute to Greatness Profile of Courage Award.
MEDIA CONTACT: Wanda Murren, 717.783.1621