Republican clerk of court candidates answer questions at GOP forum

Published 9:53 am Friday, April 29, 2022

Candidates of the Republican Party had one final public opportunity Tuesday night to speak to voters before early voting opened Thursday.

The Stanly County GOP hosted a candidate forum at Stanly County Commons, allowing candidates in several races to answer questions. The questions were given to candidates prior to the forum to allow them time to come up with responses.

Jack Lambert, vice president of the Cabarrus County Republican Party, served as moderator for the forum.

Pam Blake, Ginger Efird and Michael Greene spoke first as the three GOP candidates running for clerk of court.

The candidates were first asked about how a person’s political ideology impacts the position.

Greene said he was a conservative Republican, but politics “has no place as a clerk of court.”

Blake said she knew her politics may not line up with everyone else’s ideas, but as clerk of court she would be “100 percent impartial and fair.”

Efird said both of the two previous clerks of court, one Democrat and one Republican, “had to run the office according to the North Carolina General Statutes, which I would say to you, as your clerk of court, I will do.”

When asked about major issues facing the courts, the candidates mentioned the backlog of cases caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the long shutdown of the courts.

Blake said she would work with the district attorney’s office and judges to resolve the backlog issue, assist staff and the courts. She said she believed with “everyone communicating and working together as a team, we can move this in a positive direction.”

Efird pointed out she has worked with the court system during the pandemic and has “first hand” seen the effects of the pandemic on the local system. She said “recognizing that it’s a problem and coming up with ideas and solutions to fix the problem is key, and I believe I have the experience in the judicial branch to do that.”

Greene said the clerk of court has “limited power” in terms of the backlog of criminal cases. The backlog can only be “cleared out by the district attorney’s office and the judges who preside,” he said. “They have both the power and the authority to do so.”

The last question to the clerk of court candidates concerned what criteria people should use to choose the next clerk.

Efird said voters should look at a candidate’s qualifications, leadership abilities, integrity, being self-motivated and disciplined, competent, fair and being a good listener.

Greene said the clerk of court “must pass judgement” and have “a knowledge of the law,” adding “any time you deal with real people, things aren’t always cut and dry.”

Blake said the person people should elect is someone who leads by example, who puts the team before themselves and someone who will follow policies and procedures and “use common sense backed by experience.”

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently served in the same capacity since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored four times by the North Carolina Press Association.

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