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New Texas SoS Opens Legislative Session

State

Jane Nelson is sworn in as the 115th Texas Secretary of State by Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht, alongside her husband and Gov. Greg Abbott | Image by Texas Secretary of State's office

The 115th Texas secretary of state was sworn in on January 7 at the Texas Capitol.

Jane Nelson, who was elected to the state Senate in 1992, was sworn in by Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht.

One of Secretary Nelson’s first official responsibilities was to open the state’s 88th Legislative Session on January 10. She also presided over the election of the speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, which saw Republican Dade Phelan secure the office a second time.

She will be the first Texan presiding over the opening of both chambers of the Legislature, a press release shares.

After she was sworn into office, Secretary Nelson issued a statement.

“I’m very excited to begin this next chapter in my career of public service. I want to thank my family for their tremendous support, Governor Abbott for his faith in me, and the many Texans who have inspired me to work on their behalf for so many years. I will continue to work on their behalf as Texas Secretary of State,” she said.

Governor Greg Abbott announced his intention to appoint Nelson in a December 6 press release, as reported by The Dallas Express. At the same time, he accepted John Scott’s resignation. Scott had been in the role since October 2021.

The Texas secretary of state acts as the state’s chief election officer, according to the governor’s press release. The secretary is also the chief international protocol officer for Texas, in addition to the senior advisor and liaison to the governor for Texas border and Mexican affairs

Abbott shared at the time that confidence in the state’s elections is vital for growth and success.

“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,” he said in the press release.

“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,” Abbott continued.

“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.”

Nelson was also the first woman in Texas history to serve as the chair of the Senate Finance Committee and the longest-serving chair of the Senate Health Committee. Before being elected to the Senate, Nelson was on the State Board of Education for two terms, according to Abbott’s press release.

Her time in the Senate led to multiple accomplishments, including four balanced state budgets.

“Her work has been recognized with dozens of awards, including from the American Medical Association, American Cancer Society, Texas Association of Business, Texas Council on Family Violence, CASA, Texas Hospital Association, Big Brothers & Big Sisters, Texas PTA, Texas Retired Teachers Association, the Women’s Health Coalition, and many others,” Abbott’s press release shared.

Nelson passed more than 30 bills to protect victims of human trafficking, sexual assault, and domestic violence. She also established the Cancer Research & Prevention Institute of Texas.

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