The Bell County Clerk debate was held Monday evening at the Middlesboro Civic Center.
Announcer Brian O’Brien regulated fairness between candidates while questions were being asked of the candidates.
The nine candidates — Republicans Matt Asher, Paul Connor Cawood, John Brock, Carlie Hoskins, Debbie Turner Gambrel and Dennis Miller along with the Democrats Joe Harris, Joyce Hoskins and Charity Collette Hayes — were given up to 1 minute and 30 seconds to respond to pressing questions from voters.
Candidates focused responses on honesty and transparency within the clerk’s office and how this will play a vital role in reacquiring citizens trust.
Another main criterion in the race is the modernization of equipment, streamlining work that happens within the office and accepting credit or debit cards for transactions.
Candidates addressed parking and limited space problems at the Middlesboro office as well as extending open hours during the week including Saturday.
Some candidates stressed the importance of making the position a full-time job and dedicating 40 or more hours per week to the office.
Fiscally sound principles, checks and balances for the record books and cross-training employees were mentioned.
Commonalities between the candidates include experience or a background in business and clerk’s work and how their history will help them do that.
Many candidates said they will welcome a state auditor into the office if elected to increase the trustworthiness of the office holder.
Kelsey Gerhardt may be reached at 606-302-9093 or on Twitter @kgerhardtmbdn.