Secretary of the State Denise Merrill announced Thursday that she appointed Stonington resident Scott Bates as deputy secretary of the state.

Bates has had a long career of government service including helping to rebuild democratic institutions and governance structures in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia, Haiti, and the Perisan Gulf. He was tapped to replace James Spallone, who took a job as as general counsel to House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz.

Bates also currently serves as chairman of the newly created Connecticut Port Authority.

“As the state’s chief elections official, my goals are to expand democratic participation, to ensure that every citizen’s rights and privileges are protected, that every vote is counted accurately and that every voice is heard,” Merrill said in a press release. “Scott Bates has a passion for these same issues that has taken him across five continents, working with people and parliaments to help make their voices heard. He will be a valuable addition to my office.”