For the first time since 2017, the Texas Senate has confirmed a secretary of state, approving former State Sen. Jane Nelson in a 31-0 unanimous decision.
The secretary serves as the state’s chief election officer, as well as chief international protocol officer and the governor’s senior advisor and liaison for Texas border and Mexican affairs. The Office of the Secretary of State also publishes government rules and regulations and is a repository for official, business, and commercial records.
The position is appointed by the governor but requires two-thirds approval of the Texas Senate. That hasn’t happened since 2017, with previous appointees David Whitley and Ruth Hughs being forced to resign at the end of the previous two legislative sessions after failing to garner enough support.
First elected to the Texas Senate in 1992, Nelson served 10 terms in the chamber before announcing her retirement in 2021, and she even served as the chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee. Abbott appointed her as secretary of state in December of 2022, and she began serving in January.
Nelson’s working relationship with the senators was expected to help her through the confirmation process.
“To my former Senate colleagues: thank you for your support and your confidence in me to serve in the vital role of Texas Secretary of State. I will work to safeguard honest and accurate elections in all 254 counties across our great state, while continuing to support business owners by ensuring that government moves at the speed of Texas business, not the other way around,” said Nelson. “I also look forward to strengthening relationships with all of our international partners and telling the great story of Texas’ economic prosperity to the world. I am grateful to Governor Abbott for nominating me to serve as Secretary of State, and will work every single day on behalf of the people of Texas.”
The position carries a four-year term, with no term limits.