Voices of County Government - Jamie Smith

Jefferson County District Clerk

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How long have you been district clerk?
I began my first term as Jefferson County district clerk in January 2015. So I have been blessed to serve as Jefferson County district clerk for five years, entering my second term.

Before you won election, what kind of work did you do? How did you get interested in running for office?
Before being elected district clerk, I worked in the county clerk's office for the Hon. Carolyn Guidry as her office administrator from 2005 through 2015. I also served on the Beaumont City Council as the representative for Ward 4 from 2007 to 2014. I was a math teacher, worked in the sheriff’s office and served my country in Desert Storm from 1990 to 1994. My interest in running for office was to better serve my community.

What was your biggest surprise or adjustment after taking office?
Having previously served on the City Council for Beaumont and working in the county clerk's office, I had an idea of what was expected when I took the office of district clerk.

What are some of the most difficult challenges you have faced and what advice would you give your peers across the state who may face similar challenges?
There were several challenges when I began my term as district clerk. First, the morale of the office was low due to the fact that my predecessor, the Hon. Lolita Ramos, lost her battle to cancer while in office. The second issue was updating the way the office functioned. We began by crosstraining and giving defined roles within the office. Another challenge was changing the structure of the office by dividing into departments and setting a hierarchy within each department. The main thing that made the adjustments easy was due to the great co-workers that I have in the office. My co-workers are outstanding, dedicated, compassionate and willing to serve the citizens of Jefferson County. The advice that I would give to a newly elected official would be for them to be flexible and take time to study the function of the office before making changes and, most importantly, talk to your co-workers and listen to their suggestions. That was the first thing that I did, which helped us to implement a four-year plan of improvement within the district clerk’s office.

Since taking office, what accomplishment are you most proud of?
There are so many things that we changed and updated within the office; it is difficult to pick just one. The two biggest things were that our office began processing passports, which generated new revenue for the county, and we began using I-Jury, which saved the county some money. I mentioned two, but there is another accomplishment that I would like to brag about on behalf of our office. We volunteer a lot of our time to various organizations within the county. We assist with back-to-school drives, Gift of Life, YMBL Rodeo, Southeast Texas Food Bank, the American Cancer Society, LifeShare blood drives, senior citizen events, Save Our Children and various veterans’ clinics and events.

What do you find are the most successful methods for reaching out to the residents of Jefferson County to communicate what your office is doing and why?
Our office uses all forms of media to reach out to our citizens, such as Facebook, Instagram, posting on our website, newspapers and television. However, one of the most successful means is word of mouth.

What do you do when you’re not at work? Do you have any hobbies or something unique that you are interested in that may surprise your colleagues?
When I am not at work, my favorite hobby is playing golf with my friends. It is a good way to exercise and eliminate stress.

What is your favorite thing about Jefferson County?
The diversity of the county and how we come together when faced with tragedy.