WACO, TX – On the day after angry rioters spurred on by President Donald Trump’s claims of election fraud stormed the U.S. Capitol, the McLennan County Election Commission named Jared Goldsmith elections administrator for McLennan County.
Goldsmith, 37, a Woodway native and current assistant elections administrator, succeeds Kathy Van Wolfe during a time when the nation’s democratic election process is under siege because of Trump’s continued allegations that the system that led to his failed re-election bid was rigged and the presidency was stolen from him.
“The joke in election offices is that no one grows up wanting to be an elections administrator,” Goldsmith said. “But we are going to continue to do what we have been doing. I think we have been running our elections successfully and I have no intention to make any changes that would impede on people’s perception of us running clean, fair elections, because that is our ultimate goal. We want to make sure that people trust us.”
Van Wolfe retired in November after 24 years and seven presidential elections in McLennan County.
Thirteen applicants sought Van Wolfe’s job and the election commission narrowed the field to five before interviewing Goldsmith and one other finalist via teleconference Thursday afternoon. The commission is made up of County Judge Scott Felton, Tax Assessor-Collector Randy Riggs, County Clerk Andy Harwell and the chairs of the local Democratic and Republican parties, Mary Duty and Brad Holland, respectively.
“Jared clearly stood out as the correct choice for the position to take over from Kathy Van Wolfe,” Holland said. “As Kathy’s understudy for the past four years, he has dealt with several of the bigger issues that have come up and he helped us resolve them in a fair and impartial way.
“The Republican Party has a good working relationship with Jared and knows that he can be be fair and impartial. I think his job is on the center stage more than it has ever been, with fairness and security on everybody’s minds, and those are things that he is committed to.”
Felton said Goldsmith was the clear choice.
“Jared’s a proven quantity,” Felton said. “He has been working for the elections office for several years under the leadership of Kathy Van Wolfe, who I believe is one of the best elections administrators in the state of Texas. He is a resident of McLennan County, went to Midway High School and his roots are here. He loves this community, he is raising two children here and I think we got the right guy for the job.”
The commission recommended an annual salary of $75,000, which Felton predicted will be approved by county commissioners.
Van Wolfe said she is enjoying her retirement, especially in light of the efforts to erode public confidence in the election process. She wrote a letter recommending that the commission hire Goldsmith.
“I worked with him for four years and he is local and I think he will do a very good job,” she said. “He is very passionate about the election process and I think the voters of McLennan County will be very happy with him as election administrator.”
Goldsmith and his wife of 11 years, Emily, have two sons. His is finishing a master’s degree in public administration from Tarleton State University. He earned a bachelor’s in public administration from Texas State University in 2007.
He has worked in the McLennan County Elections Office since May 2016 and worked as a supervisor at Extraco Banks from April 2009 to May 2016 before that.
“I have always had an interest in government,” Goldsmith said. “I love it. It is fun, exciting and it is an honor and a privilege to serve the voters of McLennan County. I am excited to continue to do so in the future.”
Riggs said Goldsmith was “head and shoulders” above other applicants.
“He had a better philosophy as it came to elections and voter registration, which is a part of that job,” Riggs said. “He has a well-rounded knowledge of the technology that is needed for that office to maintain the security of future elections, and that is something that we look forward to working with him on.”