Michelle Denning has experience that matters
As a resident of Johnston County, I feel obliged to myself and to my community to be an informed voter. Accordingly, I have been doing some research on the candidates for Johnston County clerk of court race and want to share points of comparison.
I have watched our county grow since Will Crocker took office 36 years ago. With our growing and changing population, the needs of the clerk’s office have evolved and the duties are different. In making decisions that affect such a large, diverse population, we need to have the most experienced and qualified person in this role.
In comparing the responsibilities of the clerk of court and the qualifications of the candidates, I have come to the following conclusions. Although both candidates have conducted business and worked within the clerk's office, neither has worked for the clerk of court. The primary roles of the clerk are to serve as a judge of probate, a record keeper, an administrator and comptroller.
As a judge of probate, our clerk conducts hearings regarding estates, adoptions, property rights, competency and foreclosures. Candidate Michelle Denning has been a licensed attorney for over a decade. As an attorney and special deputy commissioner for the N.C. Industrial Commission, she has been presiding over hearings and writing hundreds of legal decisions, much like she would do as our clerk of court. With that background, she is ready to serve as our probate judge. Supervising paralegals and teaching in the paralegal certification program for nine years at Johnston Community College, she has the background needed to lead and educate the office staff so as to better serve the needs of the public.
Her experience gives her the ability to hit the ground running this December with no further legal training needed.
As an administrator, our clerk is responsible for management of more than 30 staff members. The ability to lead and direct this staff is vital. Michelle Denning has a proven ability to work with a diverse group of people to bring about positive results. Michelle Denning has been active in improving the quality of our community through her work as a domestic violence crisis counselor, a board member of Harbor, a Leadership Johnston graduate, an active participant in our area chambers of commerce, a Neuse Charter School board member, appointee to the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council, Clayton Women in Networking, Rotary and leadership roles at Centenary United Methodist Church.
As a comptroller, our clerk is accountable for millions of dollars. Michelle Denning knows this responsibility well, both as a practicing attorney and in her work at the Industrial Commission. She would be an excellent steward of the money entrusted to the office of clerk of court.
As I prepare to cast my vote, I can’t help but think that it’s not just about experience, but it’s real, legal experience that matters. When considering the future of Johnston County families and businesses, I strongly encourage my fellow citizens to vote for the most qualified candidate for clerk of court, attorney Michelle Denning.
Judy Corbett Shaw