|From||United States of America|
|Birth||9 August 1968, Houston, Harris County, Texas, USA|
Jared Ryker Woodfill V (born August 9, 1968) is a Texan political figure who from 2002 to 2014 was chairman of the Harris County Republican Party. He was elected chairman for six two-year terms. Woodfill was the longest serving and youngest ever elected as Harris County chairman. He is known for social and fiscal conservative positions. In 2015, he was named Houstonian of the Year by KRIV Fox 26. In 2015, Jared Woodfill became the spokesman for Campaign For Houston, the group that opposed former Houston Mayor Annise Parker's equal rights ordinance and prevailed, 61 to 39 percent among the electorate.
Woodfill's father, Jared, IV, is a former employee of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in Houston who helped to return home the crew of the aborted Apollo 13 lunar mission in 1970. His mother, the former Betty Beck, is a former instructor at San Jacinto College. Woodfill graduated from Clear Lake High School, the University of Texas at Austin, and St. Mary's University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas. Woodfill is affiliated with the firm Woodfill and Pressler, LLP. His law partner is the retired conservative jurist Paul Pressler.
Woodfill is married to the former Celeste Marie Ponce.
Prior to his election as county chairman in 2002 to succeed Gary M. Polland, Woodfill had been vice-chairman for State Senate District 17 and the legal counsel for the Harris County Republican Party. In 2010, Woodfill won his third term as county chairman over Donald Jeffrey Large, who had run for the District 140 seat in the Texas House of Representatives in 2004 and received just under one third of the vote. Large's candidacy for county chairman did not become viable in part because of a lack of campaign fundraising. Large polled only 7,099 votes out of 117,757 votes cast, or 6 percent of the total.
Woodfill ran into trouble in his 2014 race for a fourth term though he carried the vigorous backing of his predecessor, Gary Polland, and other conservative leaders in the party. He was unseated by the Houston engineer-turned-lawyer Paul Simpson, who received a $90,000 donation from County Judge Ed Emmett, who was unopposed for the Republican nomination for his office. Woodfill and Emmett became politically estranged in 2012. Emmett claims that Woodfill took personal credit for the establishment of "victory centers" when the sites were actually the work of Emmett and the state Republican party. Simpson supporters claimed that Woodfill had grown lackluster in campaign fundraising and had accented "social issues" as chairman, including a lawsuit against Mayor Parker regarding benefits for same-sex couples employed by the city.
Woodfill also carried the support of State Senator Dan Patrick, who was elected lieutenant governor to succeed David Dewhurst, and Paul Bettencourt, the former Harris County tax assessor-collector and Patrick's successor in the District 7 seat in the state Senate. In the state Senate race, Bettencourt was an easy winner and was endorsed by Polland, Woodfill, Richard J. Trabulsi, Jr., the chairman of the political action committee, Texans for Lawsuit Reform, and pastor Rick Scarbough of Vision America.
In March 2015, a year after he lost the county chairmanship, Woodfill declared his candidacy for state Republican chairman when Steve Munisteri stepped down to join the 2016 presidential campaign waged by U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Others in the race were Wade Emmert, chairman of the Dallas County Republican organization, former state party vice chairman Robin Armstrong, an African-American physician from Dickinson in Galveston County, and Tom Mechler of Amarillo, the party finance chairman since 2010. The 62-member Republican Executive Committee elected Mechler on the third secret ballot in a special meeting in Austin. Mechler and Cathie Adams had lost the chairmanship race to Munisteri at the 2010 convention in Dallas. Adams subsequently lost the vice-chairmanship race at the 2016 state convention held at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas on May 13, 2016, to Amy Clark of Floresville.
To retain the chairmanship, Mechler was again elected in 2016 by delegates to the regular state Republican convention. The race became heated when Steven F. Hotze, a Woodfill supporter from Katy in Harris County, who heads the group Conservative Republicans of Texas, claimed that Mechler supports a "disgusting homosexual agenda". Former chairman Steve Munisteri called Hotze's allegation "despicable." Woodfill withdrew when twenty-seven of the thirty-one state Senate districts supported Mechler's retention and declared his own backing of Mechler.
A resolution over secession from the United States, which Mechler opposed, was debated and rejected by the convention delegates.
In this second race against Mechler, Woodfill carried the backing of such conservative groups such as the Texas Home School Coalition, Texas Right to Life, Eagle Forum, the National Organization for Marriage, Concerned Women for America, and the Houston Area Pastors Council.
In 2017, as editor-in-chief of the group Conservative Republicans of Texas, Woodfill endorsed State Senator Lois Kolkhorst's bill to require persons to use public restrooms corresponding to their genitalia at birth. He called upon Joe Straus, Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives from San Antonio, to allow the lower chamber to vote on the legislation. On March 9, 2017, he wrote:
Joe Straus has made it clear he opposes SB 6 and is fine with men entering women's bathrooms. He continues to propagate "fake news" regarding the negative economic impact SB 6 may have on our economy. Instead of a spirited debate like we saw in the Senate State Affairs Committee this week, Straus typically chooses to slow play a bill to ensure its death through a committee of his choosing, or keep it from seeing a vote by the entire House through his hand-picked appointments to the Calendars Committee. Regardless of the path, in either situation any bill that Straus opposes is never voted upon by the House. This is Joe Straus' MO whenever he wants to kill conservative legislation and keep his and other members' fingerprints off the corpse of a bill. We the people cannot sit idly by and allow the safety of our wives, daughters, and mothers to be sacrificed on Joe Straus' altar of political correctness. Remember, Joe Straus owes his position to Democrats. In 2009, he locked arms with a majority of Democrats and a few Republicans to take out former Republican Speaker Tom Craddick. I am not sure if Straus has read the Republican Party of Texas platform. If he had, he would find on page 11 the following: "Gender Identity - We urge the enactment of legislation addressing the individuals' use of bathrooms, showers and locker rooms that correspond with their biologically-determined sex."
As Straus continued to block a vote on the Kolkhorst bill, Woodfill and Hotze in May 2017 placed a statewide call for conservative Christian candidates to run for state representative in the primary elections scheduled for March 6, 2018, against intra-party opponents of the legislation, whose opponents include most liberals, transgender persons, and many businesses and sports teams. Hotze called Republican opponents of the bill "spineless, yellow-belly Texas Republican state representatives who have not had the courage to ... protect the privacy and safety of their mothers, wives, daughters and granddaughters. ...If a man does not have the courage to protect women and girls and keep them from harm's way, then he is as worthless as chaff that the wind drives away ..." Hotze questioned the extent of Republican opposition to the bill, which he claims carries the backing of 84 percent of Texas Republicans in a recent survey.