By MARY RAINWATER
Citing seven years of experience as a county employee, longtime Anderson County resident and Palestine High School graduate Misty Cross has announced her intent to run for the county clerk's position in the March 4 Primary Election.
Cross' first job was in the county clerk's office, where she remained until her husband took a job transfer. When they returned to Palestine, Cross worked in the banking and the mortgage business before going back to work part time for the county clerk's office in 2009.
“I worked every position in the county clerk's office as well as assistant bookkeeper,” she said, explaining that while serving as assistant bookkeeper she discovered that a previous employee had been taking money from the county clerk's office for over a five-year period totaling $32,000.
“I brought it to the attention of the county clerk and the bookkeeper at that time as well as the district attorney,” she said.
Cross was later offered a position as bookkeeper in the district clerk's office where she worked for a year and a half before being offered a job in the county auditor's office.
“I have been the assistant county auditor for about eight months now,” she said. “The county auditor's office audits all county offices for Anderson County as well as payroll, grants and monitoring the county's budget.”
Her work in multiple county offices, Cross said, is what led her to run for county clerk and is what gives her an advantage for the position.
“I feel like working in other offices for the county has given me a better perspective on what this office needs,” she said. “I have seen the whole picture and not just one part of it.
“I feel I can bring a lot to the table with my experience in this office,” she added. “I feel I have a good working relationship with judges, commissioners and other elected officials and local attorneys.
“I will give 110 percent and be dedicated to this job.”
While enjoying her time with the county clerk's office, Cross said that she saw “a lot of things that were lacking in the office” and hopes to make some changes, if elected.
“I plan to extend the office hours by opening earlier and staying open at lunch,” she said. “I plan on visiting other county clerks' offices and researching what will help our county become more efficient and accessible.
“I will attend schools and keep up with the ever-changing laws and technology,” she added. “I want to make all records more user-friendly, better organized, especially the deed records.”
According to Cross, the county clerk's office is the second-highest income producing office for the county, next to the tax-assessor collector's office, with much of that revenue coming from land deed research.
“This is a huge part of the revenue for this office,” she explained. “It brings in land men and women who not only spend money on hotels, restaurants and stores in our county but also spend money recording documents and buying copies for their research.
“I want to bring professionalism to this office and make it a place people want to visit,” she continued. “I believe this is the people's county clerk's office and people should be treated with respect.”
Cross said that being county clerk is more that just a job, but entails a responsibility to Anderson County residents in keeping their history.
“The position of the county clerk's office is not about the title for me, it's about making this office better and being a public servant to the people of Anderson County,” she said. “The county clerk's office holds the history of our lives, from birth to death records, marriage licenses, probate and real property records.
“I am committed to making these records and our services more accessible to the taxpayers.”
Cross, the daughter of Gary and Cookie Howell, has been a resident of Anderson County since 1983, graduating from PHS in 1988 and from Trinity Valley Community College in 1992. She and her husband Tommy Cross, the manager at Brookshire's Grocery Store in Palestine, have four children and two grandchildren.
“I have grown up here and am now raising my family here,” she said. “I want them to be proud of our county and the people that run it.
“I am a true conservative republican and did not change parties.”
Cross will face fellow republican candidate Mark Staples on the March 4 Primary election ballot. Current county clerk Wanda Burke has announced her retirement at of the end of her current term this December.
For more information contact Cross at 903-724-5603 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org