Four vie for Surry clerk of court

Published 5:08 pm Wednesday, August 2, 2023

By Akilah Frye

Staff writer

Four candidates are competing for the Surry clerk of circuit court seat in the November election.

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Gail P. Clayton currently holds the position but is not running for reelection.

Earl Newby Jr. has worked for a local law firm for 25 years and now serves as deputy clerk for the Surry County School Board and works in accounts payable for Surry County Public Schools. 

“I plan to bring our Circuit Court Clerk’s Office for Surry County into this century by allowing the public to do e-filing,” he said. “I will be committed to exceeding customer expectations and providing the highest quality service possible to our county taxpayers.”

Thomas LS Mayes has long aspired to serve as circuit court clerk as he ran eight years ago. 

“I have always believed that the clerk of the circuit court is an ‘ambassador’ in residence for the county for which he or she serves,” he said. 

Mayes is director, president and agent for his family’s business, Thomas Reworks Co. Inc, which was founded in 1979. He was a safety and environmental law clerk for Army Corps of Engineers and Navy construction projects along the East Coast from 2000 until 2014 – “15 years of hands-on clerking work for multimillion-dollar projects,” he said. 

Mayes is a 1988 graduate of Elon College with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Marketing) and a minor in real estate, with an emphasis in law and brokerage operations. 

“I held a N.C. real estate broker’s license from 1989 until 2019 and focused on in-depth title searches for estates and historical properties,” he said. 

“When elected, it will be my first duty to appoint deputy clerks that share my conviction of polite customer service to all who enter the courthouse,” Mayes said. “It would be a great honor to serve my fellow Surry County citizens in the protection of their personal papers and to attend to the constitutional duties required by our circuit court.”

Janeen L. Jackson currently serves as the Surry Combined General District and Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court clerk. 

“As the Surry County Circuit Court clerk, my plan is to implement ‘user-friendly courts’ where my goal is to provide excellent customer service to all,” she said. “You would want the clerk to be experienced with the laws, legal process, computer systems, financial expectations, judicial expectations and flow of the clerk’s office when you or your families’ matters are in the circuit court. I have gained the experience and knowledge necessary to effectively serve as your next circuit court clerk in this capacity.”

Jackson has an associate’s degree in paralegal studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. She is a member of the Association of the Clerks of the District Court of Virginia and is IRMS Certified.

“I had to climb my way to the top as I started as a contractual deputy clerk in 1989. Because of this, I am dedicated and committed in the service of helping others to be successful,” Jackson said.

Attempts to reach candidate Shelia L. Hunt by email and telephone were unsuccessful.