In the general
election on Tuesday, Nov. 6, Republican Jon C. Miller and Democrat Jessica
A. Bailey will vie for the open office of Porter County Clerk. The
Chesterton Tribune invited both to respond to candidate questionnaires.
set word limits for each question and reserved the right to edit for length.
(1) Age, place of
Chesterton; Porter County Recorder.
Valparaiso; director, marketing and community development, Greater Portage
Chamber of Commerce; business owner.
(2) Describe the
Porter County Clerk’s responsibilities (75 words).
County Clerk’s responsibilities include: administration of the official
court records of all court cases with jurisdiction in our county;
preparation and maintenance of permanent court historical records;
processing and issuance of documents for court cases; collection,
distribution and reconciliation of moneys related to court cases, subject to
regular state audits; administration of all federal, state, county,
municipal, and special elections for the county; and other administrative
services including marriages, licensing, and miscellaneous record
Porter County Clerk maintains vital records including: birth, marriage,
divorce, child support, death records, and official court documents
including: arrest warrants, protective orders, and jailer’s releases. The
Clerk also serves as the chief election authority, overseeing, conducting,
and certifying the results for all federal, state, county, township,
municipal, special, and school board elections. Other duties of the Clerk
include: collecting court costs, disbursing judgments, preparing certified
documents, and generating notices for jury duty.
Throughout my over 30-year
career, I have been a problem-solver and solution provider, dedicated to
public service for Porter County. I believe in transforming government to
efficiently adapt to changing public needs. I enjoy helping people and
making their interaction with county government easy and pleasant. I believe
in maintaining an efficient teamwork environment for staff and using
technology to provide greater accessibility to government. I can guarantee
to provide quality public service.
For Bailey: Why are
you seeking election to the Office of Clerk? (75 words) I am seeking the
position of Porter County Clerk to maintain and enhance the history of
professionalism the office is known for, continue to make improvements
ensuring efficiency and dependability. In terms of elections, upgrading the
equipment is a top priority. Voters of Porter County deserve peace of mind
knowing that their elections are accurate and safe. I would like to continue
collaborating with leaders in a bipartisan effort to increase voter turnout.
(4) For Miller: How
does serving as Porter County Recorder specifically qualify you to serve as
Clerk? (75 words) Serving as County Recorder for two terms has provided
me with the experience to lead and manage a county office. Like the
Recorder, the Clerk maintains some of our county’s most vital information,
those being court and administrative records. As Recorder, I implemented the
digital recording and delivery of documents. Both officeholders maintain
vital records for the public and the court system. Both also serve as
members of the Porter County Commission on Public Records.
For Bailey: What
skill sets do you possess which specifically qualify you to serve as Clerk?
(75 words) Skill sets I have that qualify me to serve as Porter County
Clerk include: a strong work ethic, administrative background, and good
written and verbal skills. I have earned a master’s degree in Public
Administration and Nonprofit Management. I believe in hands-on leadership
and have experience collaborating with local government, maintaining and
developing a budget and working in the best interest of the taxpayers.
yourself from your opponent and indicate in particular why you believe
yourself to be a better candidate (100 words).
current knowledge of and professional experience with the Clerk’s office and
our court system prepares me to serve as Clerk immediately. While serving as
the computer administrator for the Porter County Sheriff and E911, I worked
with the Clerk’s office to implement digital management systems that
streamlined the processing of several records shared by our offices. Prior
to that, I administered all court records for the County Jail. This required
complete knowledge of the court filing system and an efficient line of
communication with the entire court system. I understand the election
process, having worked several elections.
believe in continuous improvement, for myself and organizations I am
involved in. As an elected member of the Portage Township School Board, I
have had to make and account for difficult decisions. Time management and
prioritization allows me to serve on Board of Directors for many
organizations, work a full-time job, own a small business, serve on the
School Board, and still have time to be an active and engaged parent.
(6) What are the
key issues in this race? (150 words)
important issue is which candidate can provide you with the best level of
knowledge and experience for the Clerk’s office? The County Clerk serves as
an officer of the court, the manager of court information, and as the chief
financial officer for all revenues collected on behalf of the court. It is a
public service administrative office. Another important issue is local
elections. The Clerk also oversees and conducts all elections as a member of
the Election Board. They are responsible to administer and certify results
for all federal, state, county, township, municipal, special, and school
board elections. In 2017 while serving as the Indiana Recorders Association
President, I was honored with their Outstanding Service Award. I also
received the Recorder of the Year Award from the Association of Indiana
Counties. I will serve with the same proven dedication that I have
throughout my career.
issues in the race include upgrading voting equipment and consolidating
polling locations. I also would like to revise the Early Voting times. Many
in Porter County are not able to vote early due to the limited times
(7) The Clerk is a
voting member of the Porter County Election Board, which agreed this year to
eliminate the number of precinct polling places approximately by half. The
County Commissioners subsequently vetoed that move. Do you support retaining
the current number of polling places or consolidating them? (100 words)
support a voting process that provides voters an efficient, cost effective,
secure, and trustworthy method by which to vote. I consider poll
consolidation (vote centers) a viable option to our current voting system in
Porter County. Yes, election costs can be reduced, but that is not my sole
reason for consideration. I see proven evidence for improving the voting
experience by employing vote centers. Several logistical steps must be met
prior to implementation of vote centers. I would seek a consensus of
involved stakeholders working together to ensure whether Porter County
should move toward the implementation of vote centers.
support fiscal responsibility; while at the same time understand the
importance of upholding a voters right to vote. In order to ensure that
right is upheld, I support polling locations remaining within walking
distance to voters, allowing those without transportation the opportunity to
vote. I do believe some consolidation can take place, but not without
careful, thorough consideration and discussion.
(8) If elected,
what priorities would you pursue in the Clerk’s Office? (100 words)
Miller: I would
review all of the Clerk’s court database systems, investigating the possible
integration of legacy digital records into the new efiling computer system.
The Clerk also stores hundreds of record books that can be digitally
archived. As Recorder, our staff is currently scanning books in-house. I
would pursue book scanning of the Clerk’s record books. Guaranteeing the
perpetuity of those records is crucial. Top-level quality public service
will continue to be paramount. Maintaining an effective relationship with
the entire court system shall also be a priority. Assessment of the
aforementioned election process in Porter County is imperative.
elected, my top priorities would be to work with the Porter County Auditor’s
office and the State Board of Accounts to improve and update current systems
that are deficient according to recent audits. I would collaborate with
community and state leaders to increase voter turnout and see that our
elections remain safe and secure. I would also collaborate with and build
relationships within the court system, ensuring impeccable service and
responsiveness to taxpayers and those that work in the court system.