Attorney Nandita Berry has been appointed as the Secretary of State for Texas by governor Rick Perry, making her the first Indian-American to occupy this top position in the Southern State.
In this position, effective January 7 onwards, Berry will serve as the state's chief elections officer, the governor's liaison on border and Mexican affairs, and Texas' chief protocol officer for state and international matters.
"Nandita Berry personifies what is possible through hard work and dedication in the State of Texas," Perry said in a statement.
"Arriving from India at the age of 21 with nothing but $200 to her name, she worked diligently to earn her law degree and has since become one of the most accomplished attorneys in the state," he said.
The Secretary of State's Office serves as the formal repository for official and business records, publishes government rules and regulations, keeps the state seal and attests to the governor's signature on official documents.
"Her work ethic, intelligence and wide array of experiences will serve her capably in her new duties as Secretary of State, and I look forward to working with her to keep Texas the best place in the country to live, work and raise a family," Perry said.
Berry said that she is humbled to follow " in the footsteps of Stephen F Austin, Texas' first Secretary of State." She replaces John Steen.
"Like him, I came to Texas in search of a better life and the limitless opportunities to be found across our great state," she said.
"Every day, I see Austin's pioneering spirit alive in Texas, and this great honour proves once again Texas is the land of opportunity, both in the private sector and public service," Berry said.
A senior counsel at Locke Lord LLP, Berry is a member of the State Bar of Texas and Houston Bar Association.
Berry received a Bachelor's degree from Mount Carmel College in Bangalore, a Bachelor's degree from the University of Houston, and a law degree from the University of Houston Law Centre.