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Four will settle Hawkins County clerk contest in GOP primary

April 7th, 2014 10:02 pm by Jeff Bobo

Four will settle Hawkins County clerk contest in GOP primary

ROGERSVILLE — Four candidates are seeking the Republican nomination to the Hawkins County clerk position  to replace retiring Democrat Carroll Jenkins.

Jenkins is retiring after serving three terms, and with no Democrats on the ballot, the next clerk will be decided in the May 6 GOP primary.

The four candidates are profiled beginning in alphabetical order.

— Mike Carpenter said he was approached by citizens who encouraged him to run for county clerk because the county needs "some new ideas" and someone in office who can relate to the problems and issues of the blue collar worker.

Carpenter retired from Bellsouth after more than 34 years, which he feels demonstrates his longevity, dedication and excellent work ethic.

"There is much more than saying that you are 'qualified,' " Carpenter said. "You must also be fluent in public relations, how to address and competently fulfill each customer's needs. I plan, if elected, to cross-train in each position. I will be a working clerk. I will use all resources available to assist each and every person that enters the office. Keeping this in mind, we will begin an inter-office continuing education program that will keep the office up to date on any new information offered."

Among his goals if elected are extending available hours; reviewing the budget to reduce excessive overspending; continuing education programs not only for the duties of deputy clerk but also in customer service; and cross-training employees.

"I do not make a practice of just telling you what an asset I would make to this office. I want to show you," Carpenter said. "I am a hands-on, straightforward, let's get it right the first time. Not wanting to continually see how much money I can spend, but how much we can save."

Carpenter added, "I am conservative, not interested in spending money that is not justified to improve the office for the service to the voters. I am a Christian, honest, trustworthy and straightforward. I promise to treat the employees and the residents of Hawkins County with courtesy and fairness.

— Nancy Davis is a proud and lifelong resident of Hawkins County whose decision to run for county clerk comes after having been involved in public service to the county all of her adult life.

Currently employed as director of the Chip Hale Center in Rogersville, Davis has more than 13 years experience serving as the director of Hawkins County Juvenile Court and as a youth services officer, under the direction of four different judges.

She also served on the Board of Directors for the 3rd District Child Advocacy Center, as well as many other boards involving children/youth, and currently serves on the Rogersville/Hawkins County Chamber of Commerce Board and the Wellmont Hawkins County Hospital Advisory Board.

"County government is not something new to me," Davis said. "I enjoy it, and I am anxious to be a part of the management team again. I have been and wish to continue being involved in Hawkins County development and future growth."

Davis added, "Also, my 14 years of management experience has allowed me to work with and manage substantial budgets, write and administer grants for the county and private sector, and manage a large staff. In my current position, as the director of a large nonprofit agency, I manage over 100 employees and oversee a very substantial budget. I know that my employees are dependent on my budgeting skills to ensure they are paid and paid on time. This philosophy will follow me into a public servant position for Hawkins County."

Davis earned an associate's degree in criminal justice from Walters State Community College and a bachelor of science in organizational management from Tusculum College.

Her number one goal if elected is to be customer-service focused, organized, efficient and accountable with the Hawkins County taxpayers' money.

"I know in today's economy, every penny counts," she said. "I am frugal and can stretch a dollar. Continuing to move forward with automation and technology will also be a goal. I will strive to make the processes of the clerk's office more user friendly, as I am aware that not all county residents are available to come into the office during business hours."

Davis added, "I will be committed to providing you with the highest quality of customer service possible. My office door will always be open to assist you in any way. I am honest, trustworthy, dependable, and I would be honored to serve as your Hawkins County clerk."

— Benny Lane said one reason he chose to run for county clerk is to try to repay the citizens of Hawkins County for their support of his business over the years.

He worked for TRW in Rogersville for 15 years after high school, holding several responsibilities, and has been in the automotive retail business for the past 20 years, having owned a business for the last 18 years.

"Working in both retail and wholesale sales of vehicles has given me a great understanding of what's involved with titles, record keeping of sales and management of employees," Lane said. "One goal (if elected) would be to make the office available on Saturdays to help meet the needs of people who can't come in through the week. I'd also like to see the office continue to improve, and I will always look for and implement cost savings while not hurting the services we provide."

Lane said he is the best choice for county clerk because he will work diligently and honestly for the citizens of Hawkins County.

"The door to the office will always be open to discuss problems and improvements," Lane said. "I'm not a politician, but I do know how to work hard and successfully run a business. I believe that this is what we need for all the offices in the county government — hardworking people who know how to serve and meet the needs of the public."

— Lisa Harmon Winstead said she decided to run for county clerk because she believes someone should be in the office that has experience and is knowledgeable about the many aspects of the office.

Winstead has worked as a deputy clerk in the county clerk's office for the past 19 years.

"I strongly believe that my past job has helped me to prepare for the duties if elected as county clerk," Winstead said. "I am knowledgeable about all of the various positions throughout the office and am trained and certified in most of the positions. My top priority will be to serve the public to the best of my ability. With the help of the experienced staff, I will do my best to resolve any issues brought before me. My main goal will be to stay up to date on new state regulations and technology to better assist the public."

Winstead said she believes she is the best candidate because she is the only candidate who has firsthand experience and knowledge of the different positions and services the office provides.

She added, "I was born and raised in Hawkins County. My family and I are still residents. I feel as though I am the most qualified candidate because of my experience.

"I have served the residents of Hawkins County for the past 19 years as deputy clerk and would like to serve in a higher capacity as your next county clerk."

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