The duties of the Tennessee secretary of state’s office, ran by Tre Hargett, this past year have dealt with major issues from a major election to the struggles facing business owners as they steer their way through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Secretary of State Tre Hargett presented an overview of his office’s duties in a Wednesday luncheon appearance held remotely for the Arlington Chamber of Commerce.

“Sometimes the things we do (include) running an election where 3 million-plus people are going to vote, and then sometimes it’s a small business owner or a potential business owner who wants to do business with the state of Tennessee, and they just don’t know where to turn or try to get started,” Hargett told the group.

Hargett, who has served as secretary of state since 2009, believes his department provides the foundation that sets businesses on the road to success. In the current pandemic, he sees businesses in minority communities and jobs for women impacted the most.

“Their jobs have disappeared first in many cases,” Hargett said. “We’ve got to figure out what is going to be our path to rebuilding that trajectory really quick because if all of us aren’t succeeding, we can’t achieve our full potential as a state.”

As for the November presidential election, Hargett noted records were broken for voter turnout in Tennessee. With former President Donald Trump easily carrying the state, Hargett’s office didn’t deal with some of the questions that emerged in swing states that helped decide the election for President Joe Biden.

“I’m very pleased that in Tennessee that we didn’t have some of the controversy that surrounded some of the other states around the country,” said Hargett, who earned two degrees from the University of Memphis and served more than a decade in the state House of Representatives for District 97 (Bartlett and Memphis).

As for the questions from the election surrounding states like Pennsylvania, Hargett thinks the issues need to be resolved. “But do I think there was enough fraud to change the results of the election? I don’t really think that,” Hargett said.

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