To the Editor,
Let me first say how pleased I am to know that Millennium Charter Academy is holding a candidates forum for their students. I applaud Ric Marshall, Sarah Stevens, John Collins, Larry Phillips, David Diamont, and Paul Johnson for agreeing to participate in the event.
As Surry County Register of Deeds, I too am a candidate facing re-election this year, but for an office very different than those represented by these candidates. Those elected to the seats to be represented at the forum … NC Senate, NC House, and Surry County Commissioner will be writing laws and/or setting policies. Their philosophies, positions, and actions have a direct impact on the lives of our citizens each day.
It is the duty of the Register of Deeds however, to carry out the business of recording and safeguarding the records of our citizens in accordance with already established state law. The rules and guidelines we must comply with are extraordinarily complex, and the position itself is one of great importance to our citizens … but we do not set policy.
Your editorial or opinion comment of Oct. 4 rightly praised MCA for holding the forum as well as the candidates who’ve agreed to participate, and I join you in that praise. But your editorial also said “…shame on you…” to those candidates who “… just decided it wasn’t worth the time or effort to show up.”
Please understand that I was not invited to participate in the event. An MCA staff member was kind enough to contact me a week or so ago to explain the purpose and focus of the forum (concentrating on those candidates vying for positions that directly affect policy) … and that our office would not be among those taking part. I appreciated both the call and explanation. As a learning tool for these students, I completely understand and agree with the approach MCA has taken.
Our office after all (though extremely important) is not one of great fanfare, drama or controversy … and rightly so. I’ve hosted numerous school groups through the years in our office in an attempt to educate our students about the role and importance of the Register of Deeds, and hope to do so again many times in the future.
I’ve also participated in a candidate forum already this year … one sponsored by the Surry County Tea Party Patriots, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. And I do not believe it was the intention of the Mount Airy News to imply that every candidate whose name did not appear in your opinion piece simply didn’t think the forum was worth the time or effort. But … it would be an easy conclusion for our citizens to draw … and at least in my case … an inaccurate one.
Carolyn M. Comer
Surry County Register of Deeds
Editor’s Note: The Oct. 4 editorial did state that we understood there were legitimate reasons some candidates would not be in attendance. Not being among the invitees would be among those reasons. Our “Shame on you” statement was aimed at those who had been invited and chose not to attend without cause.