PITTSFIELD As the Sept. 4 primary approaches, there is an important statewide race that is flying under the radar for those of us in the Berkshires: the race for secretary of state.

I have known and worked with Bill Galvin since entering the Legislature seven years ago. I know who he is, what he stands for, and how deep his commitment runs to applying his expertise to keeping our elections secure, his role as chief financial regulator for the Commonwealth, historic preservation, public records, and every single one of the 16 enormous responsibilities that come under the purview of the secretary of state.

This is not a job to be undertaken lightly. Before he even ran for secretary of state, Bill Galvin was an exceptionally qualified and capable elections attorney. Today, he oversees our entire elections system and given the current very real threat of election hacking, I wouldn't have it any other way. Make no mistake: he has kept our elections system secure. We have not been hacked, and that is not because we got lucky.

Long before there were issues in Florida, Secretary Galvin banned punch cards. He also banned all electronic voting systems. Remember when Pittsfield switched from our old lever voting booths to our paper scanning machines? That was because of Bill Galvin. He kept Massachusetts on a paper ballot only system and he kept our elections system offline. Pittsfield has had a high number of recounts since that time due to close results and the paper system has given us a high level of confidence in the process.

Attorney General Maura Healey recently restated what was said after the 2016 election: Massachusetts' election system was secure. We need to keep it that way, and Secretary Galvin is making sure that we are. He has used state money to hire additional cybersecurity personnel and to run frequent tests to make sure we maintain our security, and he was one of the first in the nation to apply for federal funding to maintain elections security.

Yet that is far from the only reason I am writing to let you know I have the strongest confidence in Bill Galvin to continue to serve as our secretary of state. Much has been made of the word "progressive" lately to describe candidates, so I want you to know that when you hear people talk about the progressive agenda, Bill Galvin has been working and step by step implementing it over time.

Strong on women's rights

It was his bill for automatic voter registration that I voted for in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. It was his work to expand voter registration through mail-in, online, and pre-registration for 16-year-olds that give us record turnouts. His experience with the Legislature makes him by far the most effective to continue to push for the reforms we need, including same day voter registration, expansion of early voting to include primaries and municipal elections, and ranked choice voting.

His support for women has made the critical difference for a lot of women and children. He created the Address Confidentiality Program to give victims of domestic abuse and stalking an extra layer of protection in knowing that they could get a driver's license, register to vote, and do all the things that require an address without risking that their abuser would find out where they live. Right now, I am the only woman legislator who represents the Western Mass. counties. I know we need to have someone in every office of government who will protect women's rights, and I trust Bill Galvin to continue to do that.

But there's another issue for Western Mass. that we need to look out for. Trump is trying to sabotage the census so that fewer people in the Commonwealth are counted. If he succeeds we could lose a seat in Congress and it would in all likelihood be one in Western Mass. Bill Galvin was the first person in the country to call attention to that, and now Massachusetts has joined other states in a federal lawsuit to stop Trump from sabotaging the census.

For so many reasons, I have confidence in Bill Galvin's work as secretary of state, but I am also motivated to write because I am quite troubled by the stance of his opponent, who has stated repeatedly that he believes the secretary of state's office should get involved with political and social issues. This is alarming. It is critical that the chief election official in the Commonwealth be completely neutral on such issues in order for us to have confidence that the office is not in any way favoring one candidate over another.

Imagine, if you will, our own city clerk campaigning on issues such as the school budget, the garbage toter system or paid parking. However you feel about any one of those issues, you want the city clerk to conduct an election that is 100 percent above reproach without worrying that her views influence the outcome in any way. The same is true for the office of secretary of state. The only issues he should be running on are his view on voter access, the census, financial securities regulations, historic preservation, and management of all 16 important functions of the office.

That's the kind of yes, progressive, leadership we need in our secretary of state. There is truly no one more qualified to serve in that office than Bill Galvin, and as I urge everyone to vote every election, I ask all of you to get to the polls for the primary on Tuesday, Sept. 4, and cast your vote for Secretary of State Bill Galvin.

Tricia Farley-Bouvier is the Democratic representative for the 3rd Berkshire District.