How to Address a Former Secretary?
I am writing a message to former United States Secretary of Transportation, who now works for a DC consulting/lobbying group. How do I address him in on the envelope and in the salutation.? Is still Secretary (Name).
—-—-—-– Kathy J. Young
Dear Ms. Young:
—-#1A) Such high former officials appointed by the President and approved by the Senate continue to be in writing:
————The Honorable (Full Name)
—-#1B) In conversation, former secretaries are no longer addressed as Mr./Madam Secretary or referred to as The Secretary as they were when they were while in office. They typically go back to a form of address to which they were entitled before becoming a Secretary: Mr., Ms., Dr., etc.
—-In the media former secretaries will be addressed, and referred to, as Secretary (Name) sometimes. You hear this mostly in oral conversation. Aware reporters are quick to note the ‘former’ status – so no one mistakenly thinks they are referring to / speaking to a current office holder.
—-#2) If you are addressing a former secretary as Secretary (Name) who is acting as something else …. e.g., as a paid lobbyist promoting the points of view of his client — that could be a problem. Best practice is to use a form of address supported by their role in the specific conversation. A current Senator or member of the House would likely know he/she is speaking to a former secretary, but should not address him in the style of a secretary during a lobbying interaction.
—-Envelope and in the letter’s address:
—-—-Mr./Ms./Dr. (Full Name)
—-—-(Name of new affiliation)
—-—-Dear Mr. (Surname):
– Robert Hickey