Isle of Wight Clerk of Court candidate profile: Laura Smith
Published 9:05 am Wednesday, October 11, 2023
Editor’s note: Laura Smith is running for Isle of Wight County Clerk of Circuit Court against Elisabeth Culpepper. The Smithfield Times sent the following questionnaire to both candidates.
Occupation: Chief Deputy Clerk
1. What inspired you to run for clerk of court?
When the opportunity to work in my hometown came along, I was overjoyed with the thought of working where I’ve lived all my life and serving the great citizens of this county. In May 2011, I began my career in the Isle of Wight Clerk of Court ‘s Office. As Deputy Clerk I did Civil Case management, recording, financials and all of the services provided to the public. I put in the training, hard work and dedication to gain more knowledge and experience to prepare for the position of Chief Deputy Clerk. I was promoted in December 2020. I understood that as Chief Deputy, I could be tasked to fill in for the Clerk, if the need arose. I eagerly learned the many tasks and responsibilities of the Clerk of Court. I am the best qualified candidate for Clerk, and hope to serve the people for many years to come.
2. What if any changes would you make if elected?
Most services performed by the Clerk’s Office are controlled by Federal, State and Local authorities with little room for change. Their on-going training enables our staff to serve the public in compliance with the newest regulations and procedures. My experience and expertise currently enable me to give the staff critical support and oversight which results in unusually friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable service. When I am Clerk, I will make sure that continues. As has long been the practice, I will maintain an office budget in line with the constraints of the County and State, and ensure that the Clerk’s Office meets the strict standards of accounting for mandated fees according to Supreme Court of Virginia regulations. I will focus on the increasing demand for services that can only be provided by the Clerk’s Office, and leave the performance of marriages and legal advice to available providers on the local economy.
3. How can technology be used to make the office more efficient and accessible to citizens?
During the 2020 shutdown, technology allowed the Clerk’s Office to continuously serve the citizens of Isle of Wight. It’s clear that technology can be a valuable asset. Because of my expertise in the services and processes of the Clerk’s Office, I will explore new technology and make good, practical decisions about the benefits of programs that become available. One example of very useful and efficient technology is our computer access to the index of wills, deeds and land records. Another example is the continuously maintained and updated office website that provides information guides for probate and administrations, an online jury portal where citizens can complete jury questionnaires and request exclusions, a guide to passport information, marriage license applications, and so much more. As your next Clerk, I will continue to upgrade and amplify our technology and resources to better assist our community. always keeping Isle of Wight taxpayers in mind.