Kim Johnson-Nickles and Kate Stotler are running for Morgan County Clerk as Republicans. There are no Democrats running for the office.
Johnson-Nickles has been working in the County Clerk’s office since 2002. She primarily handles estates — about 100 a year.
Johnson-Nickles was born and raised in Morgan County. Her father, Herb Johnson, owned Herb’s Auto Mart.
“I started at the bottom and worked my way up,” Johnson-Nickles told This Week in Morgan County with Russell Mokhiber. “I tried to learn as much about the job as I could thinking that one day I would have this opportunity to do this. My dad died a couple of years ago. His thought was that if the opportunity ever arose to please try and take it. He believed in what I knew and what I could do.”
“I know the ins and outs of the office. It is a hard job. We do marriage licenses, birth, death, estates. I am more qualified because I’ve been there for 14 years.”
If elected to office, Johnson-Nickles said she would retain the employees currently in the office.
“I would keep everyone,” she says. “Why would you change something that is working?”
Kate Stotler is a civics and government teacher at Berkeley Springs High School.
“I have worked in politics for many many years — I have helped a lot of candidates over the years at the national, state and local levels,” Stotler said. “I never thought I was going to run for office myself. I have been teaching government for a lot of years as well. About a year ago, I started to think about it. And I thought — maybe this is something I’m supposed to go and do. I could bring a big picture view to county government.”
“The County Clerk’s office is the hub of county government — they keep all the records, birth, death, real estate. They keep the history. As a history teacher, that part of the job appeals to me. They register voters. They conduct elections. They pay the county’s bills. They monitor the county’s budget. They probate estates.”
“I don’t think citizens have any idea what the County Clerk’s office does. I’ve been very involved in the community. I’m an active volunteer. I was involved in the levy campaign. I’m out there on a daily basis. I would like to be out there as a liaison and a speaker at the Rotary Club and the Lion’s Club — anybody who will let me come and talk about the County Clerk’s office. And to listen in return. What kind of experiences have you had there that were not terribly successful? What do we need to do better to make your life easier as a citizen of Morgan County?”
Stotler says in her campaign materials that she say she “will not play favorites.”
“Debbie Kesecker has served this county very well,” Stotler said. “When we get to the end of one person’s leadership, it’s important to step back and look at the office as a whole, have a fresh perspective. It’s very difficult for somebody who is already in the system, entrenched in office politics, has friendships and relationships and doesn’t want to come in and trample on long held traditions. But if the goal of the office is to be as efficient and effective as we can be for Morgan County citizens, sometimes after a long period of time under one leader, it’s important for somebody to come in and make the changes that will create that efficiency and effectiveness.”
“I’m a pragmatic politician,” Stotler says. “I would say — if you can be professional, if you can be courteous, if you can play by the rules and do your job, then that is what we want in our employees. These petty personal dramas that go on in office politics, that doesn’t have any place in what I want to do. If people can play by those rules, I want them to stay.”