High Country Press has interviewed each candidate and here is our conversation with Theresa King that includes ten questions and her answers to each, sharing her personal and professional backgrounds and telling Avery’s voters why they should vote for her.
High Country Press (HCP): What is your personal background?
King: I was born and raised in Avery County and have lived there all my life. I am the daughter of Cecil Lewis and the late Marjorie Brewer Lewis of Old Toe River Road, Newland, NC. I am married to Brian King, Transportation Director for Avery County Schools. We are the proud parents of Jared King, his wife Megan and we have an 8-month-old granddaughter, Peyton Rae King. I am a graduate of Avery County High School, a Notary Public for over 25 years and have completed various courses and certifications through my employment.
HCP: What is your professional background?
King: Since 1984, I have been employed full-time with the District Court Judges Office of the 24th Judicial District as a Trial Court Coordinator/Court Manager for five counties: Avery, Madison, Mitchell, Watauga and Yancey. Before my career with the Judges Office, I was employed at the Avery County Register of Deeds by Ronald J. Benfield. I have been a full-time employee in the courthouse my entire adult life. During my high school years, I worked on the WAMY program in the Register of Deeds Office.
HCP: Why did you decide to be a candidate for Avery County Clerk of Superior Court?
King: Being elected Clerk of Superior Court for Avery County has been a position I have worked toward for the past 20 years as I have served the citizens of Avery County.
Throughout my career at the Court Houses, I have been associated with the Clerk’s Office. And during my career in the Judges Office, I have assisted in the Clerk’s offices throughout the District and believe I have accumulated a wealth of knowledge and many of the essential skills that will serve me well as the Avery County Clerk of Superior Court.
HCP: You have served in various capacities for more than 30 years in the regional judicial system—what have those been?
King: Besides serving as Court Manager for the past 35-plus years, I have worked under Chief Judges Robert H. Lacey, Alexander Lyerly, Robert G. Horne and current Chief, Ted McEntire. I have worked with numerous District Court Judges in my career as well. I have served as a bridge between our community, law enforcement and attorneys with the judicial system. I am a member of the North Carolina Court Managers Association serving on both the Educational and Marketing Committees.
HCP: What have been your specific duties in each job you have had in those offices?
King: As Court Manager, I am responsible for the tracking of all Civil District Court Cases in the 24th District from beginning to end, calendaring the cases when ready for trial, when Orders need to be entered and various other duties. I have worked as clerk in many courts throughout the district including juvenile, criminal, civil and child support which will allow me to step into Avery Clerk of Superior Court ready to work from my first day on the job. I am the designee to rule on Jury Excuses in Avery County, responsible for our budget with the county, the security designee for the Judge’s Office relating to access of computers, various programs, emails and other jobs, for the Judges just as the Clerk would have the same responsibility.
I have had the responsibility of handling all judges’ schedules, assignments throughout the five counties, resolving scheduling conflicts, gaining knowledge of the law and how you must fairly apply that law. You must always be aware of the emotional needs of the citizens of our county and able to assist and have patience in trying to help them comply with the law.
HCP: What are the most noted changes in the roles of judicial officials such as yourself during your tenure in your chosen profession?
King: The caseloads have grown tremendously and the time we must manage these caseloads get less every day as our duties and responsibilities have progressed tremendously throughout my years with the Judicial System.
HCP: Besides experience working in the judicial system, what do you consider your top strengths for the Avery Clerk of Court position?
King: I am honest, professional and dedicated to the people of Avery County. I have the experience needed and feel I know you and the people of this County and that my many years of experience would enable me to best serve Avery County’s citizens and residents as their Clerk of Superior Court.
For my entire adult life, I have worked in the Avery County Court House serving the citizens of Avery County. I love Avery County and I want to continue that great tradition.
HCP: If elected as Avery Clerk of Court, what new ideas or plans do you have for how the office will operate from what it has under previous Clerk of Courts?
King: If elected as Clerk of Superior Court, I will work hard to have all my staff cross-trained in all areas so when you seek assistance from the clerk’s office, someone will always be available to help whoever needs it.
HCP: What can Avery County’s residents and others who have business with the Clerk of Court’s office expect under your direction provided you win the election?
King: My door will always be open to citizens of Avery County and my staff will be professional and dedicated and will be there to serve the citizens of Avery County. Our citizens are entitled to a Clerk who will have patience in trying to help them comply with the laws and help them understand why in some situations the result which they obtain from the judicial system is not that which they had hoped to achieve.
HCP: What additional remarks would you like to add?
King: I would appreciate prayers, support and votes from Avery’s citizens to become the county’s next Clerk of Superior Court.