From AP and Staff Reports

AUSTIN — Republican Gov. Rick Perry named Phil Wilson, a native of Brownwood, as Texas secretary of state on Thursday, promoting his deputy chief of staff to succeed Roger Williams.

Wilson, 39, has been an aide for Perry since 2002 and has worked on overseeing his economic development projects like the job-creating Texas Enterprise Fund and Emerging Technology Fund.

Perry said Wilson will continue serving as designee for those initiatives.

“Phil’s new role will allow my office to coordinate with the Office of Secretary of State in a seamless way to expand trade, economic development, emerging technology initiatives in the private sector and higher education, and work force development,” he said in a statement.

State Sen. Kirk Watson, an Austin Democrat, aired no objections to the appointment. Watson reviewed the choice at Perry’s request because Wilson lives in Watson’s Travis County district.

Watson told the Austin-American Statesman he worked closely with Wilson when Watson chaired the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. The senator called Wilson “extremely competent. He works hard; he knows his business; he’s a real straight shooter. As far as I am concerned, the governor can go forward.”

Watson said Wilson assured him Wednesday that as secretary he won’t take a position on the Republican-favored idea of asking voters to present photo identification or other proof of identity before voting.

Williams, a North Texas car dealer and businessman, announced Monday that he’s stepping down as secretary of state July 1.

The secretary of state is Texas’ chief elections officer, oversees business and public filings, acts as the governor’s chief liaison for border affairs and oversees international protocol for the state.