A community forum from the Greenbrier County Chamber of Commerce highlighted the main difference between the two Greenbrier County Clerk candidates.
A forum was held for local candidates for office by the Greenbrier County Chamber of Commerce, allowing each time to explain why they should be elected into office.
The Tuesday, April 26, forum included three different elections – Greenbrier County Commission, Greenbrier County Clerk, and Greenbrier County Circuit Clerk.
The race is for Greenbrier County Clerk is between incumbent Republican Robin Yates Loudermilk of Frankford and challenger Democrat Kayla M. McCoy of Lewisburg.
Moderator and executive director of the Greater Greenbrier County Chamber of Commerce Ashley Vickers was joined by timekeeper Cathy Sawyer, who noted that questions specifically pointed at only one candidate were not included in the question list.
|The forum included Greenbrier County Commission candidates Democrat DeEtta King Hunter (right end) and Republican Blaine Phillips (third from left), Greenbrier County Clerk incumbent Republican Robin Yates Loudermilk (second from right) and challenger Democrat Kayla M. McCoy (left end), and the Greenbrier County Circuit Clerk incumbent Democrat Louvonne Legg Arbuckle (third from right) and challenger Republican Jamie L. Baker (second from left).
The biggest difference between the two Greenbrier County Clerk candidates came down to how their experience qualified them for the office.
“I have 21 years experience,” said Loudermilk. “Like I said, I’ve modernized the office to what it is today. I brought in all the E-recordings, the scanning, indexing. I’ve learned from other county clerks, from the attorneys. I can answer all their questions when an attorney comes. … I work with the auditors to submit the audit on time. Like I said, just experienced leadership.”
Challenger Kalya McCoy, however, highlighted her grassroots, nonprofit experience as her qualifications for office.
“I do not have any experience serving as county clerk – what I do have is a skill set of very transferable skills from my years as a nonprofit development director and executive director,” said McCoy. “That is a large administrative burden, especially when you work for a small understaffed, underfunded nonprofit. You are the chief cook and bottle washer, completing everything for that nonprofit, from grants applications to grant reports to filing things, [and] everything in between. I didn’t have any experience in the nonprofit sector when I took on that task, but spent five years educating myself and learning. … We have a very demonstrated successful track record of bringing resources to people who needed them when the state and local governments could not.”
When asked what the most important part of the Greenbrier County Clerk job is, both candidates agreed that the integrity of elections was of the highest importance.
“You want to make sure that everybody gets a fair, honest election,” Loudermilk said. “That’s what my office does. We make sure that elections are flawless. We work late. We come in early. We want to make sure that everybody is treated the same, no matter what your party is Democrat, Republican, or nonpartisan, we treat everybody the same. That does not matter to us. … We want to make sure that everybody gets the fair right to vote in a polling place, and we make sure everybody is notified of that. … Just call us and we will tell you where you vote and where to go.”
“I agree with Miss Loudermilk, the most important part of the County Clerk’s job, in my opinion, is to ensure the integrity of fair and honest elections,” McCoy said. “I think that the only thing that would come as a very close second of that goes back to our previous question, and that would be ensuring that all of the taxpayer funding is accounted for and that records are kept accurately.”
In order to run elections, poll workers are key. McCoy stated she would train these workers “in accordance with whatever guidance was set forth by the Secretary of State’s office.” Loudermilk explained that currently for trainings, “we do train them in accordance with the state. We have smaller classes versus larger classes … because it seems like they learn more. This time, we’ve had six classes of 35 people in each. There’s like 175 poll workers we train every election. They watch our videos, tthen we also hand out a pamphlet that has the whole video in it. We go through step by step, what they need to do from beginning to end, checking in the voter, setting the machines up. … We really take time and train them, you know, to the best we can.”
What follows is a condensed version of each candidate’s opening and closing statements:
Greenbrier County Clerk candidate Kayla M. McCoy, Democrat, of Lewisburg:
“My name is Kayla McCoy and I’m a candidate for Greenbrier County Clerk on the Democratic ticket. I was the director of the Greater Greenbrier Long Term Recovery Committee for five years here in the Greenbrier Valley. Over the course of those five years, we led the charge on bringing more than $32 million and resources to the Greenbrier Valley, as well as coordinating volunteers and the community response in times of disaster, whether it was fires or floods or food and security crises or the vaccine clinics at the State Fairgrounds.
“I am a lifelong West Virginian, and I have called the Greenbrier Valley home for close to a decade, I believe, eight or nine years now. I am just so very thrilled to be here this evening and really look forward to participating in the forum.
“I would just like to implore everyone that what I lack and experience specific to this office, I make up for with enthusiasm and determination to learn. I will do what I’ve always done for the people of Greenbrier County, which is go to work every day and do my absolute best to serve them. I have a demonstrated track record of leadership in this community and have full confidence in my ability to learn and successfully lead in this position. I would appreciate your vote.”
Greenbrier County Clerk candidate Robin Yates Loudermilk, Republican, of Frankford:
“I’m Robin Yates Loudermilk, your current county clerk. I was appointed in 2012 to take Mr. Levisay’s position. I have 21 years’ experience in the clerk’s office. I was re-elected twice after being appointed. Since my term as clerk, I have modernized the office to what it is today by bringing in the fee indexing system, scanning of every document is brought in daily. I brought in e-recording, online deed inquires so the public can view the records outside of the office. We have credit card machines running now. I have applied for numerous grants that brought in [the] computer stations for the public to use, versus handing the old books that we’re preserving. I’ve worked with the state to preserve the old land records, they are now standard PDF files back to the 1700s for Greenbrier County.
“I live in Frankford currently. I am only one of five county clerks since 1919. Doing the clerk’s job takes more than reading a manual. It takes years of experience from the ground up, learning and listening within the clerk’s office. I maintain the County Clerk’s budget which is a $15 to $16 million budget. I make sure each department does not go out of their line items on a monthly base. I ask for your support in the next, upcoming election to keep me your county clerk.
“I have experienced leadership. It takes leadership to work the County Clerk’s Office. It is possible to learn that from anyone, but you do need experience in that office. I’m just asking that you keep me your county clerk. I’ve spearheaded over 16 elections, they’ve been flawless, trained over 175 poll workers, and trained my staff to be as strong as they are today. I’ve worked every position in the clerk’s office and have the ability to do those positions in case they wasn’t there one day, I mean, I can run that office without any help at all. So I just ask for your vote and your support in the upcoming election.”
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