After filing for the spot in the fall, Anderson County native Mark Staples has formally announced this week his candidacy for the County Clerk's race, running as a Republican on the March 6 Primary ticket for the spot of current clerk Wanda Burke, who will be retiring at the end of her term this year.
“I have been in the county clerk's office for eight and a half years,” Staples said about his reasons for running for office. “Wanda decided not to run and asked me if I would be interested in the job. I thought it would be a good step up for me.”
Staples grew up in Elkhart schools, but graduated from Westwood High School. He earned an associate's degree from Jacksonville College and has obtained more credits toward a bachelor's degree, recently taking courses in psychology and public domain.
He started his work in the county clerk's office in 2004 working part time as a data entry clerk and worked his way up to his current role as the office's bookkeeper — an experience, he said, that works to his advantage.
“I think it helps that I started out part time and worked myself up to be in the position to run for her office,” he said. “For the last several years, I have been Wanda (Burke's) 'right-hand person,'” Staples said. “Last year, I went to several schools with her — on vital records, probate, legislative changes and more.”
The way important records are handled is ever-changing, Staples said, which makes continuing education vital for the county clerk.
“It is hard for me to imagine someone coming into the role with little or no experience,” he said. “There are so many things that change, educating oneself is vital to be able to do the job.”
Staples said, if elected, his goal is to “be as efficient as possible with the resources provided to the office” and to keep up with the ever-changing technology without hindering customer service.
“There is a big change coming in 2015, when we will be required to go paperless,” he explained. “It is important that the transition is as smooth as possible.
“2015 also is the start of the next legislative session, which means another set of changes for the county clerk's office.”
Staples and his wife of 10 years, Jenny, have two children — Tori, 7, and Trevin, 5, who attend Neches schools. His mother, Cayuga graduate Janice Staples, is the Anderson County District Clerk and his siblings — a brother and a sister, both live in Anderson County.
Staples and his family attend Westwood Baptist Church, where he sings in the choir.
To contact Staples, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Staples will face Republican opponent Misty Cross on the March 6 primary ballot.