Delegate Jackson Miller believes he is the better choice for Clerk of Court because of his ample leadership experience.
The clerk’s office oversees 40-50 employees and manages approximately 800 separate responsibilities. Citizens rely on the clerk’s office for land deeds, settling wills, issuing marriage licenses, name changes, permits and divorce papers. The office also chooses jury pools, among other responsibilities.
“It’s a senior executive management position in a government agency, in other states it’s appointed,” Miller said.
While he expects many citizens will vote upon party affiliation, he hopes most people will consider who would better fill the position, which he said requires “a leader of people, a manager of people.”
Based upon those qualifications, he believes he is easily the better choice. Miller said he has obtained the necessary experience via a life-long career in leadership and devoted to community service.
“It’s a lot of experience,” said Miller. “[My opponent Jacqueline] Smith does not have experience managing or leading people. That’s the difference”
Miller’s service began in the U.S. Army as an officer where he trained men and women, after which, he became a Prince William Police Officer.
As a police officer, he was a leader among his peers, becoming president of the Prince William Police Association. At the time, the association was faltering, but his leadership helped to revive it.
He then entered civil service, first as a Manassas City Council member and then as a Virginia state delegate for the 50th District.
He believes he has the requisite experience to be an effective Clerk of Court.
“It really fit my skill set and my experiences,” said Miller. “I’ve used the clerk’s office as a police officer and as a realtor.”
Miller began familiar with the position when his business partner Austin Haynes ran in 2015. Haynes wanted to make the office more efficient, and Miller has similar goals.
He wants to make sure that they pick up the phones, so the office can be more responsive to all citizens.
“Not everyone has or is comfortable using email,” Miller said. “I believe somebody should be answer the phones. It’s as easy as that.”
He wants to look into replacing the land records database with a previously used system. The consensus seems to be that it worked more efficiently.
Miller said he would consider marriage ceremonies at the courthouse again, something that former Clerk of Court Michele McQuigg stopped doing after SCOTUS made same-sex marriages legal.
“I’m not concerned about marriage. I’ll follow the law as it is,” Miller said.
Miller resents his opponent’s description of him as career politician who is out of touch with the Clerk’s office, and said it is just the opposite.
“I’m working very, very hard. I am a citizen legislator. I earn my living as a real estate agent. I would take a pay cut because I won’t be practicing real estate,” said Miller. “This is about an exciting challenge for me in public service – something I have done my whole life.”
Even though Smith said she is the non-political candidate, Miller believes she has been very political throughout her campaign in some of the accusations she has made about him such as insinuating he wants the well-paying job like others who have retired from local or state politics
“It’s simply not true; it’s a challenge,” said Miller. “I could easily say the same thing about a struggling young lawyer trying to make a living.”
Miller also said he is tired of hearing Smith says she is all about taking politics out of the courthouse. “She absolutely is playing politics; she’s campaigning.”
He has criticized her for distributing campaign literature within the courthouse and emailing her attorney friends via a Virginia Bar email list.
Ultimately, he believes the Clerk of Court’s Office will run more smoothly with him at its helm. As an experienced leader, he believes he will listen to his employees, put the best methods in place, and help to improve morale.
He said there are many good things happening in the clerk’s office, but it can also be improved upon, and he will make that a priority that morale improves and employees know he values their input.
The Special Election for Clerk of Court will be held April 18. Residents of Prince William County, Manassas City, and Manassas Park can vote if they are registered in those jurisdictions.
More information on Jackson Miller’s campaign can be found on his Facebook page “Miller for Clerk.”
Bristow Beat is not endorsing a candidate in this election. We have written an article on Jacqueline Smith, published April 13.
© 2017, Stacy Shaw. All rights reserved.