Q&A: Meet the candidates running for Williamson County clerk

The Williamson County Courthouse on the Georgetown Square

The Williamson County Courthouse on the Georgetown Square

Two candidates are listed on the Nov. 6 ballot for Williamson County clerk. Responsibilities of this elected position include serving as clerk of the county court system and the county commissioners court. The clerk also issues marriage licenses, acts as a recorder of deeds, takes depositions, and maintains county records. Clerks are elected to four-year terms. Candidates were asked to submit responses by email. Some responses may be edited for length.

The candidates

Nancy E. Rister (Republican Party) (*incumbent)
Occupation: county clerk
Experience: 20 years of experience as county clerk
Top priorities: continue to strive to bring the best customer service available while using technology to become as efficient as possible and preserving the older records on paper and the newer electronic records

Jessica Tiedt (Democratic Party)

Occupation: senior technical support engineer
Experience: 12 years in technical support for business technologies
Top priorities: transparency, accountability and accessibility; Williamson County residents deserve to be able to access and export their information online and interact with the office outside of typical 9-to-5 work hours

Why are you running for this position?

Rister: I am running to continue to serve the citizens of the county as we transition to mandated criminal e-filing in the courts as we become paperless. We have already accomplished e-filing with civil and probate cases when e-filing was mandated by the Supreme Court in 2014. We did this as procedures and processes were changed to follow the mandated Supreme Court rules. We started e-recording in the real estate division in 2005.

Tiedt: I am running for Williamson County clerk because Williamson County residents deserve better from their government and their elected officials. The county clerk’s office, to date, has not adapted to the changing technologies, attitudes and work schedules of the people.

What is the top challenge facing the county clerk’s office?

Rister: Continued county growth means increased volume of all transactions and balancing that with more employees to keep up the current service level while keeping salaries at a sustainable level that are within the four budgets that I manage. Keeping this data secure and preserved are also top ongoing objectives and challenges in an ever-changing electronic world.

Tiedt: The top challenge facing the county clerk's office is county residents' relative lack of access to the information provided by the office. The information belongs to the people and providing technological solutions like online filing is one method to improve the challenges county residents currently face.

What changes do you want to make if elected?

Rister: I will continue to strive to bring the best customer service available while using technology to become as efficient as possible while preserving not only paper records but also electronic. We will soon have commissioners court minutes available online that go back to the 1800s which will be a great resource for public research to add to the real estate, birth, death, marriage foreclosure notices, civil, probate and misdemeanor cases, and alcohol wet/dry locations.

Tiedt: As county clerk, I want to increase accessibility to county clerk records, operate more openly and transparently, and expand the office hours beyond the current 8 a.m. to 5 p.m in order to accommodate the schedules of the working person. As a Williamson County official, I will also aid in registering students to vote.

What distinguishes you from your opponent?

Rister: Twenty years of experience as the county clerk, my B.A. degree in accounting and information systems from UTPB, [and] managing 43 staff and 4 conservative budgets helps distinguish me. I implemented plans to preserve county records from 1838 to present day. Our records online include the commissioners Ccourt records, deed records, marriage, birth and death indexes from the 1800s to current. My office has won awards for 19 years from the State Vital Statistics Bureau.

Tiedt: I believe in progress and in changing with the times. I believe in making the government accessible to the people. We are here to serve the people, not the other way around. Currently, the county clerk obfuscates their responsibilities to the people. My opponent benefits from maintaining the status quo, and the status quo does not benefit the people of Williamson County.

By Ali Linan
Ali Linan began covering Georgetown for Community Impact Newspaper in 2018. Her reporting focuses on education and Williamson County. Ali hails from El Paso and graduated from Syracuse University in 2017.


Travis County has added 3,069 new confirmed cases over the past week from July 6-12. (Community Impact Staff)
Travis County adds 3,069 new coronavirus cases over past week

Travis County has added 3,069 new confirmed cases over the past week from July 6-12.

A sign directs voters inside Ridgetop Elementary School in North Central Austin. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
11.8% of voters in Travis County have voted early since June 29, exceeding 2018 primary numbers

More than 97,000 Travis County residents have voted in person or by mail. The turnout far surpassed the combined early and Election Day totals in the 2018 primary run-off election.

A photo of the potential Tesla property
Travis County updates Tesla incentive package, pushing for $1 billion-plus investment from the company

Poised for a possible July 13 vote, Travis County has released a refined incentives structure proposal with electric carmaker Tesla.

The Williamson County and Cities Health District confirmed 37 additional coronavirus cases July 10, bringing the total to 3,654. (Community Impact Staff)
37 new cases of coronavirus, 1 death confirmed in Williamson County on July 10

Currently, 103 patients are hospitalized, 32 are in intensive care and 16 are on a ventilator.

The species that tested positive for West Nile Virus is Culex quinquefasciatus, or the southern house mosquito. This species has a flight range of about one mile. ​(Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Mosquitoes test positive for West Nile Virus near southwest Williamson County Regional Park

There have been no reported human cases of West Nile Virus in Williamson County since 2017.

Williamson County sees 844 new coronavirus cases this week

Between July 4 and July 10, Williamson County also reported 9 additional deaths.

Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced in a June 30 State Board of Education meeting that students will be taking the STAAR in the 2020-21 school year. (Courtesy Pixabay)
Education organizations call for STAAR requirements to be waived another year

Gov. Greg Abbott waived the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, testing requirements in March of earlier this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

With a clinical background in internal, pulmonary and critical care medicine, Corry has been with BCM for 20 years. He now focuses primarily on inflammatory lung diseases, such as asthma and smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. (Graphic by Ronald Winters/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Baylor College of Medicine's Dr. David Corry discusses immunity, vaccine production amid COVID-19 pandemic

Rapid development and distribution of a vaccine worldwide and successful achievement of herd immunity will be key players in determining the lifespan of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Dr. David Corry, a professor of Medicine in the Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology Section at Baylor College of Medicine.

Chisholm Trail Road will be closed between RM 620 and Sunset Drive due to utility work scheduled for the RM 620 project. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Chisholm Trail Road in Round Rock to close July 13 through early August for RM 620 work

Chisholm Trail Road will be closed between RM 620 and Sunset Drive due to utility work scheduled for the RM 620 project.

The new partnership will provide on-site, same-day testing and results for assisted-living facility staff and their residents. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
State announces partnership for increased COVID-19 testing for patients, staff at assisted-living facilities, nursing homes

These test sites will help the state work toward the goal of processing up to 100,000 tests in the first month.

The Brushy Creek Regional Wastewater System Treatment Plant's expansion is an anticipated three-year process that will increase the plant's capacity by 40%. (Taylor Jackson Buchanan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Plans to expand Brushy Creek wastewater plant in Round Rock by 2023 move forward

The consulting agreement approved July 9 would test materials such as concrete, soil and asphalt to ensure that the products are made to the city's specifications.