JEFFERSON COUNTY, Texas — A man who is currently the first Black district clerk to serve in Jefferson County took on many roles before getting to where he is now.
Before becoming district clerk, Jamie Smith worked at the county clerk's office, the sheriff's office and even served as a Beaumont city councilman.
Amidst passport applications and divorce filings, you can find the the latest example of Black history at the Jefferson County Courthouse.
"We've been making strides and we still have further strides to make," Smith said. "I think it's a tremendous honor."
While in retirement, William Sam was attending council meetings in 2006. He's served as a mentor and friend of Smith.
"The key thing that I got from Jamie, was he was open to listen, he's a very patient individual, and he makes time for everybody," Sam said.
During the council meetings, Sam realized he didn't like the way his ward was being represented.
"So I decided that we, I needed to find somebody that wants to do something," Sam said.
Not long after, Sam pledged his full support to Smith.
"One thing that I always believe in, is commitment, is he committed to them? And he proved himself out for that, he's very committed," Sam said.
After seven years on city council, Smith took his commitment to the next level.
Smith was appointed in 2015 and says the main goal is always to make record keeping and applications more efficient.
Under Smith, the district clerk's office is revamping their process.
They are working on digitalizing jury selection so citizens could go through the process on their phones.
"You can go on your smart phone, you can do it on your watch," Smith said. "We are always trying to make the process easier and better for our citizens."
Only 13 people have served as district clerk of Jefferson county, and Smith has the added honor of being the first African-American to do so.
But, he wants to be more than just the first.
"Your mission now, is to be perceived as the best, you want to be a great district clerk," Smith said.