State SenateStatewide NewsTexas Sen. Jane Nelson Appointed Next Secretary of State

Nelson's nomination must be confirmed by her colleagues in the Texas Senate during the 2023 legislative session.
December 6, 2022
One day after current Texas Secretary of State (SOS) John Scott made public his resignation effective December 31, 2022, Gov. Greg Abbott announced his replacement: state Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound).

“Ensuring confidence in our elections and building the Texas brand on the international stage are crucial for the continued growth and success of our great state,” said Governor Abbott in the announcement.

“I thank Secretary Scott for his tireless work educating Texas voters how they can participate in the electoral process and safeguarding the integrity of our state’s elections. Senator Nelson’s lifelong commitment to public service and deep understanding of state government will be assets in her new role ensuring the critical duties of Secretary of State are fulfilled. Nothing is more important to a free society than fair elections, and the State of Texas will continue working to uphold and protect this right.”

In a statement from her office, Nelson said, “I look forward to this new chapter of public service and appreciate the confidence Governor Abbott has placed in me to serve as Secretary of State. Voters expect fair elections with accurate, timely results, and I am committed to making that happen. Texans with all political views should have faith in our election system.”

The position oversees the state’s elections — which is a decentralized, bottom-up system — and “provides a repository for official and business and commercial records.”

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Among her responsibilities will be to conduct the randomized audit of four counties’ elections this year, set forth by legislation passed in 2021. This year, those four counties are Harris, Guadalupe, Eastland, and Cameron.

Nelson announced last year she’d forgo re-election in 2022 and retire from the Texas Senate at the end of her term. She has served almost three decades in the upper chamber and in 2021 chaired the Senate Finance Committee, which led discussions on the $248.5 billion 2022-2023 biennium budget.

She’ll be succeeded by state Rep. Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound), one of three House members making the jump across the Capitol rotunda for the 2023 session.

During the 2022 race for governor, Nelson was one of a few surrogates stumping for Abbott on the campaign trail.

The SOS position has been tumultuous and full of turnover the past few years. Scott served just over one year in the position; his predecessor, Ruth Hughs, served roughly a year and a half before resigning after the Texas Senate did not approve her nomination.

Under the Texas Constitution, the governor appoints individuals to the position and the Senate provides “advice and consent.”

With the 2023 session approaching, it’s hard to imagine Nelson’s nomination cannot get the stamp of approval from her former colleagues. If she is confirmed by the Senate, it will be Abbott’s first SOS nominee approved by the Senate since Rolando Pablos in 2017.

Nelson will be the sixth secretary of state during Abbott’s two-term tenure, now stretching into his third.

Abbott’s predecessor, Rick Perry, had nine secretaries of state during his 12 years in office.


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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.

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