To the Editor,
The author of “Dirty Politics Comes to Surry,” featured in the Friday October 12, 2012 edition of the Mount Airy News, clearly needs to reacquaint himself (or herself) with the duties of the Surry County Register of Deeds.
For those who are unfamiliar with the Register of Deeds office in Surry County, make yourself familiar. The Register of Deeds holds a vital role in our community. Among other tasks, this elected office is charged with the duty of maintaining all related land records, including the filing of deeds, deeds of trust, plats and subdivision plans. The Register of Deeds catalogs collateral/fixture filings as well as durable power of attorneys. What office maintains all marriage, death and birth related records in Surry County – the Register of Deeds. Where would you go to research the boundary descriptions of your property, to see if the deed of trust against your home had been paid off or satisfied, or get a copy of your marriage certificate – the Register of Deeds. Suffice it to say, the Register of Deeds office impacts the lives of Surry County citizens directly.
Although the Register of Deeds is elected in a partisan election, it is by no means a partisan office. Attention to detail, prudence, and an unwavering commitment to policy and procedure are necessary traits for the role. These are not uniquely Democratic or uniquely Republican traits. These traits transcend party politics and require an introspective look into the qualities “within” a person. Bud Cameron (Surry County Register of Deeds from 1976 to 2004) exemplified the skill and precision desired from this elected position. Since 2004, Carolyn Comer has built upon Mr. Cameron’s legacy with a steadfast commitment to public service.
The Register of Deeds election is not about Democratic or Republican politics, it is about competency. Mrs. Comer has over 25 years of experience (formerly as an employee in the Register of Deeds office and later as an elected official). If you have never interacted with the Register of Deeds offices in neighboring counties, you are blissfully unaware how lucky we are, in Surry County, to have a Register’s office that is efficient, coordinated, and knowledgeable (especially in regard to our electronic records database). Mrs. Comer and her staff are second to none in the capabilities and support provided to the public.
There is a billboard in Mount Airy, on the intersection of West Pine Street and Renfro Street, across from Reeves Community Center, which reads in pertinent part “Democrats have Controlled the Surry County Register of Deeds Office for 36 Years…It’s Time We Make a Change. Vote Harris!” Aside from the inelegant partisan jousting contained in his message, Mr. Harris raises an interesting point – “It’s Time We Make a Change.” Before “we” make a change, it would be good of Mr. Harris to tell us exactly what needs changing. The exemplary service provided by Mrs. Comer? Her abundantly helpful support staff? The Register of Deeds office streamlined records system?
The overall aim of Mr. Harris’ political message is unsettling. It is divisive, and attempts to stir political wind around an office to which Democratic and Republican ideals have no appreciable impact. Mr. Harris’ message also insults the cumulative intellect of Surry County voters. It assumes that by virtue of our political affiliations we are unable to think beyond the confines of party lines. There is nothing subtle or tactful in this message; it is crafted with an intent to incite political rancor and divert voter awareness from key issues (ex: obvious inequality in experience).
The Register of Deeds serves all citizens of Surry County, Republicans and Democrats alike. Over the past 8 years, Mrs. Comer has executed the duties of her office with integrity and skill. Our Register of Deeds election is too important to be dragged into the backwash of Republican and Democratic opposition sweeping this country. We have a very good Register of Deeds. Let’s keep her.
J. Andrew Fulk, Esq.