How to Address a Secretary in a State Cabinet

How to Address a State Secretary of (a Department)
Member of a Governor’s Cabinet

I am addressing an invitation to the secretary of our state’s Dept. of Agriculture, trade and Consumer Protection. How do I address a state-level official? Is he the Honorable?
—-—-– PD How to Address a Secretary in a State Cabinet

Dear PD:
Generally, job titles are not included on invitations and other social correspondence.   The idea is it is the person being invited …. not the job. A state secretary of a cabinet-level department is addressed:

—-Social envelope:
—-—-The Honorable (Full Name)
—-—-(Complete Address)

—-As a salutation use:
—-—-Dear Secretary (Surname):

NOTE: When I was researching my book, I polled a number of state secretaries. They unanimously preferred:

—-The Honorable (Full Name)
—-Secretary (Surname)
—-The Secretary of (Department)
—-Mr./Madame Secretary

One state secretary expressed it this way: “there is only one US Secretary of our discipline in the Cabinet in Washington … but there are 50 of us at the state level … so the singular title makes less sense.”

– Robert Hickey How to Address a Secretary in a State Cabinet

Not Finding Your Question Answered?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  After checking the list and reading the posts, if you don’t see your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, I will post the question & answer – always changing the names and specifics.

— Robert Hickey

The Protocol School of Washington (PSOW) was founded in 1988 and offers open-enrollment, classroom-based programs where students learn to become a licensed Intercultural Etiquette and Protocol Trainer, or can earn a certificate in operational protocol by completing Protocol Officer Training. Private, on-site training is also available to provide tailored training solutions. In 2020, PSOW launched online, instructor-led training to meet the needs of students worldwide.

PSOW has offices in: Washington, DC; Columbia, SC; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The school is nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) and provides international protocol, cross-cultural awareness, business etiquette, and image training preparing professionals to build lasting business relationships.


Protocol and Diplomacy International – Protocol Officers Association promotes the protocol profession and raises awareness of its central role in business and diplomacy through education and networking. PDI-POA’s mission is to share the highest level of collective expertise, training, information and advice regarding accepted rules of protocol. PDI-POA is committed to facilitating communication, understanding and cooperation among individuals, governments and cultures around the globe.