Deputy Secretary of State Chris Winters has served Vermont in the Secretary of State’s office for nearly 25 years, the last seven as Deputy Secretary of State to Jim Condos.
The first in his family to go to college, Chris is the oldest son of a truck driver and an office secretary from the small Town of Williamstown. He comes from a long line of farmers and laborers, with grandparents operating family farms in Plainfield and in Williamstown where he grew up.
After high school, Chris went on to attend college and law school in Boston, Las Vegas and San Diego, obtaining criminal justice and law degrees. Once he hit the Pacific Ocean, he turned around and came back to one of the most wonderful places in the country to raise a family.
A Career in Service to Vermont
Back in Vermont, he opened a sole practitioner law office in Barre. Early on, with a child on the way, he was offered a steady job by then Secretary of State and Barre native Jim Milne, who happened to be a Republican. Milne lost in the very next election to Deb Markowitz. Fortunately, she saw the wisdom in keeping this young staff attorney around.
An avid marathoner, Chris is no stranger to hard work and taking the long view. He worked his way up in the Secretary of State's office. He served several years as counsel to licensing boards, protecting the public from unprofessional and unsafe practitioners in dozens of licensed professions. He was promoted to Director of OPR, building one of the best professional regulation models in the country and was one of the first state agencies to take its services online in 2009, creating much greater efficiency and better customer service.
Making a Difference
For the last several years, Chris has been the Office's Swiss Army knife, immersed in elections, corporations, archives, and municipal assistance. He is also in charge of HR and IT for the office, leads the annual legislative agenda, heads up communications, and started the office Twitter account and Facebook page to reach out to Vermonters wherever they may be.
2020 in particular was an incredible leadership challenge, sending all staff home for remote work while ensuring that critically important services like business registration, health care licensing, and a presidential election in the midst of a global pandemic still happened. And happen they did, with astounding success on all fronts, including record voter turnout.
Chris is a graduate of the Snelling Center's Vermont Leadership Institute and the Council of State Government's Eastern Leadership Academy. He is a passionate proponent of smart, focused government and accountability through transparency and is proud to work every day with Secretary Condos to solve problems for Vermonters. Chris feels very fortunate to have a job where he can feel like he’s making a difference and giving back to the state that means so much to him.
Grounded in Community
Chris grew up in Williamstown, lived several years in Cabot, and now resides in Berlin, the town in which he was born, on an old grist mill property with his wife Sarah and their two younger boys, along with their rescue dog, Domino. Two older children live in NY and CA as they start out in their young careers.
Chris is an active member of his community, having served several years on the local School Board, including as chair, leading it through a major renovation project and district merger. He has also coached Little League baseball for many years. In his spare time he loves running marathons, camping, hiking, nature photography and the Philadelphia Eagles.