GULFPORT — When Connie Ladner was a junior in high school, an assigned report about an elected individual of her choice led her to the circuit clerk’s office. Most of her friends chose the mayor or sheriff.
That report — which she got at A+ on — and the meeting with the then-circuit clerk led to a job after she graduated.
Thirty years later, she is set to take over the office, after she was the only one to qualify to be on the ballot for Harrison County circuit clerk in the November election. And she is hoping to do for the current crop of Harrison County students what that report did for her: educate them and keep them interested in county government and the elections process.
“It’s something I’ve always been passionate about — voting and getting everyone out to vote, whether you’re young or old, and to make sure you make an educated decision when you go to the polls,” she said. “I want to continue that and work with schools to get students more involved in the process.”
Ladner, who has been with the circuit clerk’s office since 1984, will replace Gayle Parker, who will finish her sixth term as clerk in January, and Parker has said she supported Ladner’s candidacy.
Ladner said she wanted to thank Parker and Webb Lee, the clerk who first hired her, for their guidance and confidence and said the office has been doing good work that she wants to expand on.
“I think we’ve done a great job and want to continue the work that we’ve done,” she said. “But I also want to devote a lot of time to the education of students about the different offices the county has, how they affect students and what they do. I want to spend a lot of time on education.”
The circuit clerk’s office already focuses on education by going to schools to register voters but Ladner wants to do more.
“I want to try to get them more involved now, when they’re in school, so as they go on in life they’ll continue to be involved in elections and participate in the process,” she said.
— REGINA ZILBERMINTS, The Sun Herald
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