By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Experience is a key issue in the race between incumbent Lee County Circuit Clerk Joyce Loftin and challenger Carolyn Mauldin.
Loftin, 62, a Democrat, has been clerk since 1996. Prior to that, she was a deputy for two clerks and worked in other parts of county government.
She said her 16 years on the job matters as she looks toward a complicated presidential election year, plus the other responsibilities of two court systems, managing the county’s fines and restitution system, registering voters and issuing marriage licenses.
Mauldin, 69, a Republican, is a former Tupelo City Council member who wants to get back into the vortex.
“I’ve always had an interest in politics, I just love that world,” she said. “It always opens doors for the people involved.”
The women face off Nov. 8 on the general election ballot.
Loftin is quick to emphasize that the post is no one-woman show.
“Some people think you just sit behind a desk,” she laughed. “It’s a lot of work, really physically demanding.
“Last election, two staff members and I packed 90,000 ballots for the primaries.”
Mauldin points to her 16 years in as a Tupelo city official, four as alderwoman and 12 on the council in one of two at-large seats, eliminated by a federal court order before the 2009 election.
These days, she’s office manager at Rosewood Residence, a long-term care facility on McCullough Boulevard.
Loftin noted the circuit clerk’s office took in nearly $1 million last year in fines and restitution and oversaw vast computerized changes in the voting and court records systems.
Mauldin says she knows, that if she’s elected, she’ll come into office facing a great many unknowns and a fast-paced presidential election year in 2012.
“I know it’s going to be tough” for a new circuit clerk, she said, “but there’s never really a right time for a change.”
PRINCIPAL DUTIES of the circuit clerk include:
• Keeps records of the circuit court
• Administers system of selecting trial juries
• Issues and files marriage licenses
• Registers citizens to vote and oversees county elections
• Records judgments