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California Secretary Of State Reveals Battle With Depression

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – They are images that stand in stark contrast.

California's Secretary of State at her swearing in, and now the reports that she is battling a debilitating episode of depression and is renting a space at this Sacramento mobile home park that she calls her refuge.

"This is a tough and courageous decision for her to actually come forward and talk about this," said Steve Maviglio, a Democratic strategist.

Maviglio says Bowen's depression – which she now says she's battled since college – was not known in Capitol circles before she told reporters Friday.

"It was very hush, hush. I think what happened was that some reporters found out about it and went to her and asked," Maviglio said.

Bowen has served two terms as secretary of state. Before that she served in the state legislature. She told the San Francisco Chronicle: "the stigma is still a problem. I look back and wonder if I was open about this if I would have been elected in the first place."

Maviglio says Bowen's case may lead more politicians to come forward about their mental health

"As long as the stigma is overcome, I think you'll see more of it. We saw Senator Steinberg's daughter talking about her illness and how that impacted her family last week," Maviglio said.

Bowen says she will not step down and that she can continue to work, even though she stays away from her office for days at a time.

A public officeholder, now sharing a sensitive and private medical concern.

"Politicians are people too. So I think it's important for citizens to be aware what's going on and then make their own judgment," Maviglio said.

Secretary Bowen only has about 100 days left in her term. But it's the most important time period for a Secretary of State office-holder because she'll be overseeing all the elections in November.

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