Among the many decisions facing voters on the upcoming election day, those in Union County will have to choose who will be their next clerk of court.
The decision of who will hold the position comes down to two options, Democrat Donna Jackson and the Republican incumbent Clerk of Court Kellie H. Connell.
Connell, a certified public accountant who has served the county court as clerk since 2013, has a master’s degree in accounting from the University of North Florida.
Jackson, who held the position of financial director for the Union County Clerk of Court for 18 years, has a bachelor’s degree in business administration with specialization in management from Saint Leo University.
Both candidates agreed that the area’s economy is the biggest issue facing Union County in 2017.
“As a small, fiscally constrained county, we struggle just to meet the absolute basic services of our citizens,” Connell said, and she explained the need to build a fund for difficult economic times.
Jackson argued that during her time as a financial director, the “proper funding of the county and the clerk of courts” was always an issue, and “the fact that approximately 32 percent of Union County’s population is comprised of inmates housed in the Florida Department of Corrections further complicates the funding mechanisms in place.”
In regard to the minimum wage, Jackson believes the current wage is fair at entry-level positions. She also said “step-systems” — that minimally increase wages along with employee completion of training or probationary periods, while not placing too much of a burden on employers — could be applied.
Connell said there is no need to raise the minimum wage and believes it should be determined by the economy rather than government agencies.
Among the people endorsing Connell’s campaign is Clay County Clerk of Court Tara Green and Palm Beach Clerk of Court Sharon Bock. When asked about her endorsements, Jackson mentioned receiving the support of Regina Parrish and Margie Cason, two former Union County clerks of court.
Both candidates are strong supporters of the Second Amendment, and Connell said she believes that fewer regulations should be applied to gun ownership in general.
The early voting period in Union County began Oct. 29 and ends Nov. 5.