1.) What is the importance of the Circuit Clerk to residents of Champaign County?
The Circuit Clerk should ensure that courthouse users can rely on their paperwork being properly filed and transmitted to the Courtroom where their case will be heard, and that entries made in their cases by the Clerk’s office are accurate; that if they are pro se litigants they will have the resources they need to access the system, including information about available resources such as the Self Help Desk; and that the Clerk works together with the Judges and other Courthouse personnel for the efficient operation of the Courthouse. This includes the provision of form documents, such as orders of protection. The Clerk’s Office is often a courthouse user’s first contact with the Courthouse for tasks such as the payment of fines and fees, opening a case, and tracking the progress of a case.
2.) Why are you qualified to be Champaign County Circuit Clerk?
As a licensed attorney for 37 years with an active courthouse practice, I am familiar with the Circuit Clerk's office, and the functions it should serve. In my 23 years of private practice I worked with clients who had adoption, bankruptcy, criminal, family law, guardianship, juvenile, real estate, and wills and estate cases. My last 14 years have been in the civil division of the Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office. I have experience in County government, having served on the Champaign County Board for 16 years. In addition, my service in professional and community organizations has included leadership positions on the governing boards and/or as officers. Included in that experience are 8 years on the Sanitary District Board, 12 years on the regional Land of Lincoln Assistance Foundation Board, and 25 years on the Elder Abuse Task Force.
3.) If elected, what is something you want to accomplish as Circuit Clerk, and how long will it take?
In order to achieve any project such as fully paperless courtrooms, electronic filing in all cases, and serving as an information resource for all courthouse users, it is essential that the Clerk’s staff have knowledgeable and dedicated leadership at the top with a clearly defined mission for the operation of the office. The staff deserves to receive the training and support they need to do their jobs and find long term satisfaction in their work. All positions and their functions need to be reviewed and evaluated to address what the priorities of the office should be and what those training needs and support should be. I believe it will take a year to accomplish this.
4.) Is there anything else you would like to say to an undecided voter?
This is a Democratic primary election. I have voted in every Democratic primary election since I turned 18. I have not only been a volunteer, but also a Democratic elected official and a Democratic appointed official. I am proud to be a Democrat, and I believe that those values and principles are the foundation for how I would serve as Circuit Clerk. A list of present and former elected officials and community members who are endorsing me is listed on my website.