Commissioners appoint Christopher Hollins interim Harris County clerk beginning June 1

Hollins, who said he has no intentions of running for the office, will serve as interim county clerk throughout the remainder of 2020 until a new county clerk is elected in November. (Courtesy Christopher Hollins)
Hollins, who said he has no intentions of running for the office, will serve as interim county clerk throughout the remainder of 2020 until a new county clerk is elected in November. (Courtesy Christopher Hollins)

Hollins, who said he has no intentions of running for the office, will serve as interim county clerk throughout the remainder of 2020 until a new county clerk is elected in November. (Courtesy Christopher Hollins)

Following the announcement of Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman's resignation effective May 31, the Harris County Commissioners Court appointed Christopher Hollins as the interim Harris County Clerk during its May 19 meeting.

As previously reported by Community Impact Newspaper, Trautman resigned due to personal health concerns amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Trautman, a Democrat, was first elected to the office in November 2018. The county clerk's responsibilities include reporting and maintaining court records, running the county and state elections and providing a variety of other services, ranging from marriage licenses to birth and death certificates.

"I commend Dr. Trautman for the work that she did and for her commitment to taking care of her health," Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis said during the meeting. "It's important to her family and all of us, and at the end of the day, all of us enjoy public service, but family does matter, and I respect her decision."

In a split 3-2 vote, with Precincts 3 and 4 Commissioners Steve Radack and Jack Cagle dissenting, the commissioners appointed Hollins to serve as interim county clerk beginning June 1. Hollins, a Democrat, is a Houston-based personal injury lawyer with a background in both the public and private sector.

"[Hollins] is incredibly qualified, and I am confident he will do an excellent job leading the county's elections division, in addition to his other assigned duties," Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia said in a statement. "Chris has an impeccable resume—from his Morehouse, Harvard and Yale education to his experience as an attorney and high-level management consultation at McKinsey, Chris understands how to manage complex systems and is uniquely suited to handle his new responsibilities."

Cagle said he was unable to vote in support of Hollins' appointment due to his affiliation with the Texas Democratic Party.

"From his resume, [Hollins] has been and currently is the Texas Democratic Party Finance Chair, and so that's going to be a difficult sell for me, to have someone that is that closely involved in the political process, especially in terms of raising funds, for me to be able to support on a process such as this, especially without any personal knowledge or experience with regard to his skill set in this actual job," Cagle said. "Nothing against this gentleman, ... but I won't be able to support him."

Hollins, who said he has no intentions of running for the office, will serve as interim county clerk throughout the remainder of 2020 until a new county clerk is elected in November.

"I'm committing to [Hollins] with the understanding that he will bring his skill set to running the best election that we can possibly do for the sake of our county and generally the democratic rights of all the residents and not focusing on advancing personal political ambitions," Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said during the meeting.

In a post on his Facebook page, Hollins expressed his gratitude for the appointment. Hollins will be tasked with administering the July 14 runoff elections and the November general elections.

"I am honored to serve as the next Harris County clerk and provide vital services to the residents of Harris County during this challenging time," Hollins said in a statement. "This November, our office will administer the most consequential election of our lifetime amid a global health pandemic. The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy, and I will work tirelessly to ensure that Harris County residents can exercise that right safely, conveniently and with the peace of mind that their vote will be counted."

Trautman likewise expressed her approval of Hollins' appointment in a May 20 news release.

"I would like to congratulation Chris Hollins on his appointment as interim Harris County clerk and extend my best wishes to him in his upcoming administration," Trautman said in a statement. "I spoke to him this morning and look forward to working with him to ensure a smooth transition to the office."
By Hannah Zedaker
Born and raised in Cypress, Texas, Hannah Zedaker graduated from Sam Houston State University in 2016 with a bachelor's degree in mass communication and a minor in political science. She began as an intern with Community Impact Newspaper in 2015 and was hired upon graduation as a reporter for The Woodlands edition in May 2016. In January 2019, she was promoted to serve as the editor of the Spring/Klein edition where she covers Spring ISD and Harris County Commissioners Court, in addition to business, development and transportation news.


Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
MAP: A look at early voter turnout by county in Texas

About 57% of registered voters in Texas have cast ballots so far in the Nov. 3 general election, according to the latest data from the Texas Secretary of State.

Isabel Longoria
Harris County taps Isabel Longoria as final candidate for first-ever elections administrator

The position will overtake election duties from the county clerk and the tax-assessor collector.

Houston Morning Market Company is poised to launch three new markets across the Greater Houston area by Nov. 19. (Courtesy Houston Morning Market Company)
Houston Morning Market Co. expands across region and more local news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

Several named storms have brought heavy rainfall to the Houston area during the 2020 hurricane season amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
In the midst of 2020’s economic downturn, Harris County continues to consider social vulnerability when prioritizing flood mitigation projects

Zoning expert and law professor Sara Bronin explained how marginalized populations can find themselves in a “vicious cycle” when government agencies do not take steps to protect them from flooding.

Voters line up outside Juergen's Hall Community Center in Cypress on Oct. 14. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Harris County exceeds its previous voter turnout record before early voting ends

More than 1.3 million county residents cast ballots throughout the entire November 2016 election, but this year, that number was surpassed on Oct. 29—with one day of early voting remaining in addition to Election Day on Nov. 3.

Early voting runs through Oct. 30. Election Day is Nov. 3. (Adriana Rezal/Community Impact Newspaper)
Double-edged sword: As voter turnout reaches all-time highs in Greater Houston area, so does risk of incomplete ballots

Under-votes, or votes that are never cast in a particular race, occur when voters cast incomplete ballots. They typically surge in elections with high voter turnout, said Steve Leakey, president of the Montgomery County Voter Awareness Council.

Harris County residents have returned approximately 163,000 mail-in ballots. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)
Nearly 163,000 Harris County voters have submitted mail-in ballots

Early voting and mail-in ballots will be counted after polls close on Election Day.

ExxonMobil's Houston campus opened in Springwoods Village in 2014. (Courtesy ExxonMobil)
ExxonMobil to lay off 1,900 employees primarily in Greater Houston area

Citing economic strain due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, ExxonMobil officials announced in a press release Oct. 29 plans to lay off approximately 1,900 employees primarily at its management offices in Houston.

Here is what you need to know today about the coronavirus in Klein and Spring ISDs. (Community Impact staff)
Spring, Klein ISDs see 42 active COVID-19 cases in students, staff

Both school districts share active cases daily. Community Impact Newspaper wiill regularly post updates on the cases within both districts.

Less than a week ahead of the Nov. 3 Election Day, Cihan Varol, an associate professor with Sam Houston State University's Cyber Forensics Intelligence Center, shared insight on foreign election hacking and what it means for voters. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Q&A: Sam Houston State University cyber forensics intelligence expert talks foreign election hacking ahead of Nov. 3

"There is a very slim chance that the hackers can change vote count, but they can definitely influence people to believe that they did manipulate it," Cihan Varol said. "If election fraud is going to happen, it'll be because of disinformation."