Barksdale takes on Scott in clerk’s race
Editor’s Note: Getting to know your candidate will be a regular feature informing you about our local candidates leading to the March primary.
This week’s featured candidates are seeking the state office of Circuit Clerk, an office that is currently held by Anita Morgan Scott who will face local attorney Jeff Barksdale in the democratic primary election on March 13. Both Scott and Barksdale will run as democrats.
Barksdale, who has been operating his own law practice in Red Bay since 2008, is a newcomer to the political scene but he said he is stepping into the experience with open arms and is ready to more fully serve the residents of Franklin County as a public official.
“Because of my strong ties to the area, I’ve always wanted to serve the citizens of Franklin County,” Barksdale said. “I grew up here and I moved back to this county right after I graduated law school and over the years that I’ve worked as an attorney, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of the office of Circuit Clerk.
“My wife and I had previously discussed the possibility of a run for this office at some point in the future, but as the deadline for qualifying loomed and no one else had entered the race, I felt more and more strongly that Franklin County deserved both a choice of candidates in 2012 as well as a qualified Circuit Clerk who is committed to the position for years to come.”
Scott, who has worked in the Circuit Clerk’s office since 1980 and has served as Circuit Clerk since 2003, said she believes experience really makes a difference in her job.
“I’ve been in this office for over 30 years and I know the ins and outs of what it takes to run an efficient office,” she said. “Because of the way our state economy is, I recently had the difficult task of having to lay off some good employees. With those cuts, our office is now down to five employees, which means that my experience in this office matters now more than ever as we strive to continue to provide the same level of service we have always provided when we had a full staff.”
Scott said the quality of her staff is something she has always been proud of and said she would imagine her employees are some of the hardest working and knowledgeable employees to be found in clerk’s offices statewide.
“Leadership is always important when you want to have an efficient staff, but it definitely makes it an easier task when you have good employees like the ones I have,” she said.
“Our office stays open nine hours each day instead of closing for lunch and it’s a service my staff and I are glad to provide to make doing business here more convenient for Franklin County residents. We’re willing to go the extra mile here in order to better serve the people.”
Barksdale said his experience in operating his own law firm has given him the knowledge to manage an office and his background in technology will be beneficial in the years to come.
“As a solo practitioner, my days are spent not only on legal matters but on the day to day demands of operating a small business: I supervise employees, manage budgets and payroll and I maintain strict control over client funds,” he said. “In addition, as the justice system moves increasingly towards electronic filing, it will be beneficial to have a Circuit Clerk with a technical background and having graduated with honors with a degree in computer science I have no doubt that I will be able to manage this transition for our county.”
Scott said she has enjoyed the past eight and a half years serving the citizens of Franklin County through efficiency, which she said is proven through the perfect audits she has received each time during her tenure as Circuit Clerk.
“Quality service to the public is what we strive for and it is what I will continue to provide the citizens of Franklin County in the years to come if I am re-elected,” she said.
“I really like my job and I am honored to have been given the opportunity to give back to my community through public service and I hope to do that for many more years to come.”
Barksdale said even though he is just getting started with his campaign, he is looking forward to meeting more of Franklin County’s citizens during the election process.
“I have already met so many other kind people with a deep regard for and dedication to this county,” he said. “If elected, I promise the citizens of this county that I will operate a fair, friendly and efficient office of the Circuit Clerk.”
Both Scott and Barksdale grew up in Franklin County and have strong ties to their communities – a factor both feel is important when serving in a public office.
“I grew up in the East Franklin community with my parents, Rex and Sue Morgan. My dad passed away in 2006 and my mom is now married to Vernon Smith,” Scott said.
“I’ve been married to Sylvester Scott for 37 years. We have a son, Derrick, who is married to Lorie Garrison and a daughter, Tiffany, who is married to Chase Bullington. We are blessed to have three healthy grandchildren: Chloe, 8, Chaley, 2, and Tiffin, 1.”
Barksdale grew up in Red Bay and said he was glad to have had the opportunity to grow up in a small town with friends and family that have always been supportive.
“My parents, Wade and Carolyn Barksdale, worked hard so that my sister, Lana, and I could have great educations and taught us by example the importance of treating everyone, whatever their situation, with friendliness and respect,” he said.
“My wife, Mandy Prince Barksdale, and her parents, Danny and Rita Prince, also grew up in Franklin County and both they and their extended families have offered much encouragement and support.”