JOHN T. WILLIS, Secretary of State
The Governor appointed John T. Willis to be Secretary of State of Maryland on January 18, 1995. Mr. Willis was confirmed unanimously by the Senate on February 3, 1995.
Born November 1, 1946, Mr. Willis attended public schools in Maryland, graduating from Westminster High School in 1964. Mr. Willis graduated cum laude from Bucknell University with a B.A. in Economics in 1968 and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He received his J.D. in 1971 from Harvard Law School with an emphasis on constitutional law.
In the United States Army, Mr. Willis served in the Judge Advocate General Corps from 1968 to 1971 at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, and Fort Meade, Maryland. In the U.S. Army Judiciary, he was Clerk to the Army Court of Military Review and served with the Defense Appellate Division, 1971-74. Mr. Willis completed his tour of duty as the Legal Assistance Officer at Aberdeen Proving Ground, 1974-75. As an attorney, he engaged in private general practice from 1975 to 1990 in Westminster, Maryland, with his own firm, and in Baltimore City with the law firms of Blades and Rosenfeld, and Weinberg and Green. There, he gained extensive experience in small business, real estate, zoning and land-use law. From 1990 to 1994, he served as Chief of Staff to the County Executive of Prince George's County.
Mr. Willis is an author, historian, and widely recognized expert on the Maryland electorate and the State's demographics. An adjunct professor, he has taught in the Business and Economics Department at Western Maryland College from 1979 to the present. His published works include Presidential Elections in Maryland, Lomond Publications, Inc., 1984; "The United States Court of Military Appeals: Born Again," 52 Indiana Law Journal 151 (1976); "The United States Court of Military Appeals: Its Origin, Operation and Future," 57 Military Law Review 27 (1972). He was a contributing author to Western Maryland: A Profile, T. H. Hattery, ed., (1980), and Justice and the Military, H. E. Moyer, Jr., ed., (1972). From December 1973 to August 1974, he edited The Advocate, a bimonthly newsletter for military defense counsel.
Mr. Willis chairs the Governor's Commission on Maryland Military Monuments. He also serves on the Advisory Board to the University of Baltimore's Schaefer Center for Public Policy. He is a member of the Maryland Historical Society, the Carroll County Bar Association, the Maryland Bar Association, and a past president of the Carroll County Arts Council.
From 1987 to 1989, Mr. Willis served on the Democratic National Committee and was Vice-Chair of the Maryland Democratic Party. At the Democratic Party National Convention, he served on the Rules Committee in 1976, 1984, and 1992; as a delegate in 1988; and as an alternate delegate in 1980. He served as a member of the Democratic State Central Committee for Carroll County, elected with the highest number of votes in the primary election on September 14, 1982. He was a member of the Electoral College from Maryland in 1992. Most recently, he was elected Chair of the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State in 1995 and serves as their representative to the Democratic National Committee.
Mr. Willis is married to Kathy S. Mangan, a published poet and Professor of English at Western Maryland College. He is the father of two children, Karen M. Willis, a graduate of American University and Vermont Law School, and James T. Willis, a graduate of Franklin and Marshall College.
Note: In this past edition of Maryland Manual, some links are to external sites. View the current Manual