Name: Todd Harris
Profession: Mediator and owner of Harris Mediation Services
Political History: Mount Airy City Commissioner for 12 years
Why are you seeking this office?
I’m seeking the position because I want to offer the citizens of Surry County a qualified, conservative candidate for the office.
How do you feel you can help residents of Surry County if you are elected?
Not only do I have a law degree, but I’ve taught property law at Surry Community College.
I have overseen departmental budgets totaling $10-$12 million as a Mount Airy City Commissioner, so I’m very familiar with how budgets work and the impact they can have on the citizens of the county and city in which they live.
Is there one issue you feel isn’t being addressed or you would like to specifically focus on if elected?
There is one specific issue a lot of people have brought to my attention. Currently we charge for access to public records. We’re the only rural county in our area that does that. The department currently operates in the black, but it’s in the black because it charges for public records.
As a conservative Republican, I have philosophical problems with charging for public records.
The office of Register of Deeds is a non-partisan office, yet throughout this campaign political affiliation has been introduced. Do you feel political affiliation plays a role in the office?
It has not been a non-partisan office. Absolutely not.
As a matter of fact, the Democrats have controlled that office for 36 years.
The Republicans lost that office during the Jimmy Carter presidency. There is certainly partisan politics involved in that office.
I think historically, the case with finding a job in county government has been a case where you have to belong to a certain party to get that job. I’ve been told by many people that as Republicans they can’t find a job not only at the courthouse, but in many places in the county.
Party affiliation will not have anything to do with employment should I win this race and sit in the Register of Deeds office. A person’s competency will be the deciding factor, not party affiliation. I’m not going to look at that ever to determine whether they’re qualified to work in the Register of Deeds Office.
What would you like to say to the voters of Surry County?
I just want voters to know that I represent an opportunity for change in this county - a change from many, many years of traditional party politics.
My qualifications to run this office, based on education and experience are without question. If elected I will work for every citizen in Surry County and do a job that will make them proud.