News

Campaign Worker Arrested After IDing His Candidate As Democrat

October 10, 2018
 – 
Josh Marshall

Note from the Candidate: "Hello Everyone! This event has been extremely disappointing to see unfold. The Cops should never be called into a situation that has alternatives unless there is an active crime being committed or a physical threat to the well being of people or animals present. This never should have escalated to the point that cops were called, and the County Clerk who's clerk thought it was ok to call the cops has failed to make any statements related to this arrest. This is not something that has happened overnight - Waller County has decades of voter suppression issues to overcome - but an employee does not consider that its ok to call the cops for an issue like this one, without being led by leadership that considers the police there to do their bidding. It should appall any County Clerk or County Clerk candidate that the response of the clerk to this situation was to call the police. Alternative solutions, such as offering Jacob a different form of receipt, or a different person to take a photo with were too easily available to them for this. I will not comment on whether or not the clerk who called the cops should retain her position - as I am unaware as to whether or not this behavior is regular or normal for her - but this incident should've resulted in an immediate comment from the County Clerk publically and definitively saying that she does not find the way that this was handled appropriately. That there has been silence on this, even as she has released statements related to the ability of the students to vote is an incredible disservice to the constituents in her county - who now have to wonder if the possibility of arrest will be involved with their interactions with her office. Events like this can be prevented by constituents voting and holding their elected officials regularly accountable to the actions that their office takes. Debbie Hollan has been the county clerk for 7 years."

Here’s a troubling story out of Texas. Democrat Mike Siegel is running against Rep. Michael T. McCaul (R) in Texas’s 10th district. This evening I saw a tweet from Siegel which said: “Just learned that my field director was arrested while delivering our letter. He told police he was working for me and the officer asked, “what party is he?” Now Jacob is under 48 hour investigatory detention in Waller County.”

That didn’t seem right, especially the part about getting arrested after being asked what party he’s affiliated with. So I managed to get Siegel on the phone to get some more details.

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Williamson County to reissue election ballots-by-mail due to editing error

Oct. 3, 2018
 – 
Ali Linan

Williamson County’s Election Office will be reissuing approximately 8,000 ballots-by-mail that were distributed missing a candidate’s name in a statewide election, according to a news release.

Under the Presiding Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals race, the ballots should have listed three candidates: a Republican, a Democrat and a Libertarian. Due to an editorial error, the Libertarian candidate, William Bryan Strange, III, was not listed on the ballots, the release said.

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Democratic candidate Tiedt says new ideas needed in clerk’s office

SEPTEMBER 26, 2018
 – 
BRAD STUTZMAN

With a technology background and an activism born of the 2016 presidential election, Jessica Tiedt is the Democratic Party’s candidate for Williamson County Clerk.

“I’d always been a voter. I’d always looked into the people I was voting for,” Ms. Tiedt said. “The 2016 election was so insane and there were so many new ideas — at least so many new ideas to me — being presented by Bernie Sanders. I was for Bernie 100 percent. Trump was massively heartbreaking.”

Ms. Tiedt said the current election cycle is about “who we are as a country.”

“I realized there were some places where it might be essential for me to get involved,” she said. “Get involved and be the change you want to see ... What Williamson County politics are like is people get appointed and people never get contested.”

Ms. Tiedt said she is running for county clerk because she believes the duties of that office match her skill set.

“Researching solutions and working projects from start to finish, on the technology side of things, is my main expertise,” she said. “How that translates to the county clerk’s office is implementing those technologies into where it is the best technology to get the job done.”

A self-described “Army brat,” Ms. Tiedt traveled stateside and overseas with her family, living everywhere from Copperas Cove to Germany.

In 2005 she graduated from Sherman High School, in northeast Texas, and later took community college classes in California. Ms. Tiedt said she has also taken classes through DeVry University, a for-profit institution of higher learning. “Typically I take the courses that I need to do what I'm trained to do," she said, noting most of her skills have been acquired through on the job training.

Ms. Tiedt and her husband of two years, Karl, live in Austin.

Ms. Tiedt has worked in technology related jobs for the past 10 years - including a stint at Apple. She currently is employed as a senior technical support engineer for MobileIron in Austin.

She described MobileIron as a "unified endpoint management" service, explaining "When a business has data and they want to allow their employees to use that data, UEM is what distributes that and secures it. “I have a pretty unique role ... I handle a lot of project-management style tasks and responsibilities. I also spend a lot of time determining what is the best solution, keeping in mind scalability ... Technology moves fast.”

Ms. Tiedt said she wants to bring that fast-moving technology to the county clerk’s office. “The idea is to make sure we are using the best technologies available,” she said. “We are going to make that technology more available and more accessible.”

Ms. Tiedt acknowledged she’ll have to be elected, sworn- in and on the job, before drill- ing down into more details.

“January 2 is going to be a lot of day-to-day reviewing of what the day-to-day business at the county clerk’s office is like,” she said.

Ms. Tiedt said the cost of meeting her goals will be de- termined by what she finds.

“It depends on how much is already in place and just needs to be worked together into a website,” she said. “Once I know what pieces are currently in place, I’d like to bring in a developer to work on an open space web portal to pull it all together — increasing

the headcount by one — and I would expect a qualified individual to cost anywhere from $70,000 to $150,000 a year and be able to tie everything together in a year.

“It really depends on how much the current IT [information technology] department would be supporting the efforts. It may be that they would have the resources that I need and I would not need to increase my own headcount.

“It’s really hard to tell with-out hands-on access to what’s currently in place to make a clear determination as to cost or effort involved,” she continued.

“But it is something that we would be able to figure out in time to get added to the 2020 budget, should we need to. The county clerk does have existing budget items that might cover the needs. Either way, once we go have a good portal built, people will have better access to their information — a single source, and all behind a secure interface.”

Ms. Tiedt noted the county clerk also holds a seat on the county’s five-member elections commission. She wants to use that platform to work with school districts to get more eligible high school students registered to vote.

She also envisions other joint efforts.

“There are a lot of ways cities and the county can work together,” she said. “We’ve got to have a countywide vision and we’ve got to get collaboration from all our city governments to get that to work.”

Article in whole - click below to be taken to the Williamson County Sun website!

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Could purple Texas House District 45 turn blue?

Oct 5, 2018
 – 
Julie Chang

SAN MARCOS — In a Texas House district that teeters on turning blue, Democrat Erin Zwiener, an author and educator, is watching closely how many new voters are registering in Hays County.

“We’ve already added as of Oct. 1, 20,000 more voters to the rolls just in Hays County than we had in November 2016,” Zwiener said. “A lot of them are young families and young families want their kids to have great schools and they’re feeling the higher pinch of property taxes. Once they understand the Republican status quo is what got us here, they’re pretty eager to vote for anything else.”

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Thousands of online voter registration applications are invalid, Texas officials say

Oct 5, 2018
 – 
Taylor Goldenstein

More than 2,000 applications to register to vote in Texas submitted through an online service are invalid, state officials said. Travis County officials, however, said they will accept such applications.

Texas does not allow online registration, but Vote.org, a website run by a California-based nonprofit, seemed to have found a loophole by allowing voters to fill out an online application and attach a photo of their signature, which the service then faxed and mailed to elections administrators.

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Still not registered to vote? Here’s what you need to do by Tuesday

Oct 3, 2018
 – 
Paul Cobler

Here are five things you should know before the voter registration deadline arrives Tuesday.

So you’re registering to vote at the last minute? Here are five things you need to know before the deadline arrives Tuesday:

1. Find out if you’re already registered: At the Texas Secretary of State Office website — VoteTexas.gov — you can use a number of resources to check your voter registration status and, if you’re already registered, see the address on file for you with the office.

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What was Williamson County’s role at T. Don Hutto?

Aug. 19, 2018
 – 
Ali Linan

Williamson County’s relationship with the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor will end in early 2019, but officials doubt the change will have a noticeable effect on day-to-day county business.

County commissioners voted 4-1 on June 26 to end a contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and CoreCivic Inc., the private prison operator previously known as Corrections Corp. of America that runs the facility. The contract’s termination is effective Jan. 31, 2019.

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‘Resistance warriors’ gather as Dems debate midterm strategy

Apr. 12, 2018
 – 
STEVE PEOPLES

Hundreds of liberal candidates, most running in state and municipal elections this fall, are streaming into Washington this week as the Democratic Party’s left flank intensifies in its push to seize control of Congress, statehouses and local governments across the country.

They are excited. They are angry. And animated by opposition to President Donald Trump, they are ready to fight any calls to moderate their liberal passions.

“We’re at a moment when we need to be unapologetic,” said Greg Edwards, one of a half dozen Democrats running for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 7th district, which is considered a prime pickup opportunity for his party.

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Wilco issues same-sex marriage licenses

July 01, 2015
 – 
Brad Stutzman

Although some Texas counties, such as Travis, began issuing same-sex licenses on the same day as the Supreme Court ruling, Williamson County Clerk Nancy Rister requested an opinion from County Attorney Dee Hobbs.

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New elections administrator hired

March 18, 2015
 – 
Brad Stutzman

Joining Hunt in approving the hire were her fellow commission members: County Judge Dan Gattis, County Clerk Nancy Rister, Republican Party Chairman Bill Fairbrother and Democratic Party Chair Karen Carter.

“I’m humbled by the opportunity to serve Williamson County in this capacity and will do my best to make the county, its voters and its entities proud,” Davis said in a press release.

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County weighing legal options after $1 million loss of document fees

January 31, 2013
 – 
ELIZABETH PAGE

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FY19 Williamson County Budget Could Call For Higher Property Tax

Aug 8, 2018
 – 
Tony Cantu

Overall, the proposed budget stands at $329.3 million, officials said — a $1.6 million increase from the last fiscal year. Budget and tax rate approval is contingent on a pair of public hearings on Aug. 14 and Aug. 28. County commissioners on July 31 approved the setting of the maximum 46.65 cents per $100 valuation for the coming fiscal year.

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Terry Cook: Balancing Williamson County needs with mandates

Aug 15, 2018
 – 
Terry Cook, Williamson County Precinct 1 Commissioner

Hear ye, hear ye taxpayers! We are very cautious in this delicate dance of the budget. We pray for wisdom to discern the “need” from the “want” of departments. It takes many, many meetings to understand the ever-changing world of this fast-growing county called Williamson.

I encourage you to view a video on unfunded mandates at tinyurl.com/yasoqb26 or read the 2016 Unfunded Mandates Survey results at tinyurl.com/ycglx9hx.

By the way, we hear and understand the cry, “Reduce my tax burden.”

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Activists want more recovery resources in Williamson Co.

August 23, 2018
 – 
Spectrum News Staff

Experts say a successful recovery involves many components like overdose treatment options, sobering or detox centers, and peer support groups.

They say Williamson County has some of those components, but not all in one place.

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Williamson County Judge Suspended After Sheriff's Office Threat

Aug 18, 2018
 – 
Tony Cantu

The Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct has suspended the Williamson county judge from judicial duties with pay following a threat he made to strip the sheriff's office of funding in a spat, according to a published report.

Williamson Co. families remember lives lost to drug addiction

August 25, 2018
 – 
Chelsey Trahan

Life Steps Council held their third annual event to raise awareness for drug overdoses on Saturday. The International Overdose Awareness Day is next Friday.

The Council said about 20,000 people in the county are currently abusing opioids.

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