As Louisiana’s newly sworn-in secretary of state, Tom Schedler promised Tuesday to continue efforts to make the office more voter and business friendly.
Schedler beat House Speaker Jim Tucker, another Republican, in the Oct. 22 primary election.
The race determined who would fill out the remainder of the current term as well as a new four-year term that begins in January.
The office became vacant when Jay Dardenne won the race for lieutenant governor last year.
By law, Schedler, Dardenne’s first assistant, took over until an election could be held.
Dardenne presided over Schedler’s swearing in ceremonies at the State Archives.
Earlier Tuesday, Schedler talked about the election as well as his plans for the office during a Capital City Rotary Club speech.
Schedler told Rotarians, “I have no further political ambition.”
He had accused Tucker of planning to use the office as a stepping stone.
Schedler said a computer crash that stopped people from keeping up with primary election returns “caused us all heartburn.”
He said a consulting group is working to fix the problem, which appears to have been caused by the increased volume of traffic with people checking vote returns on their smart phones.
Some traffic may be diverted to other sites in the future, he said.
Schedler said he is proud that voters can access personalized election ballots, polling precinct locations as well as GPS mapping to get them to websites via smart phones using http://www.geauxvote.com.
“We believe we are the first state,” said Schedler, who is a former state senator.
He said he wants to continue efforts to make the office’s “corporations division” a one-stop shop for new businesses.
Schedler said his agency already is helping new businesses that register with the state to identify every permit they must file at http://www.geauxbiz.com.
In addition, the corporations division is working with the Louisiana Work Force Commission so appropriate documents are filled out, Schedler said.
He said he wants to expand that connection to include the state Revenue Department, the Department of Environmental Quality and other agencies so “businesses will never have to go to any other agency in state government.”
Schedler said the computer upgrade will cost between $3 million and $5 million and require a lot of work to protect privacy, but it will be worth the investment.
“You should not be bogged down opening a business. That’s the best service the secretary of state can do on the front end — cut through bureaucratic red tape,” Schedler said.
He said his office is posting monthly new business filings.