He graduated from Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio, 1926, Washington, District of Columbia He graduated from British School of Civil Affairs, Wimbledon, England, 1943.
He served in Congress three separate times: 1933 to 1942, 1949 to 1954, and 1963 to 1966, resigning each time prior to the end of his term. College of Law, 1938, and Columbia University, New York City, 1943. Secrest was superintendent of the Murray City, Ohio schools 1931-1932.
He was elected as a Democrat to the 73rd to 77th United States Congresses, and served March 4, 1933 to August 3, 1942, when he resigned to join the United States Navy.
He was later promoted to Commander and served until February 28, 1946 in England, Africa, Italy and the Pacific. Secrest ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1946, and acted as legal supervisor for the Library of Congress in 1946 - 1947.
He served on that commission 1954 - 1961, and was Director of Commerce, State of Ohio in 1962. Secrest again was elected to the 88th and 89th Congresses, and served January 3, 1963 to December 30, 1966, when he again resigned after failing at re-election in 1966.
He died May 15, 1994 in Cambridge, Ohio.
He was a member of the Ohio House of Representatives 1931 - 1932. He was elected to the 81st through 83rd Congresses, and served January 3, 1949 to September 26, 1954, when he resigned to become a member of the Federal Trade Commission. He was a member of the Ohio State Senate, 1969–1973, and member of the National Council of the American Legion, 1978 to 1987.