Democratic Party nominations for County Clerk in Calhoun County

Editor's Note: To help voters learn more about the candidates, the Advocate is printing profiles in contested races in the March 4 Democratic and Republican parties primaries. Saturday's profiles spotlight candidates for the Democratic Party nomination for County Clerk in Calhoun County. The winner of this race will face Republican Anna Goodman, who is unopposed in the primary, in the Nov. 4 general election.

Shelby Sebastian

• Age: 34

• City/county of residence: Port Lavaca/Calhoun

• Occupation: Chief Deputy Calhoun County Clerk

• Political party: Democrat

• Office Seeking: Calhoun County Clerk

• Email:shelbysebastian@yahoo.com

Why do you want to serve in this position?

First and foremost, I enjoy the people I have worked with for the last 17 years in the county clerk's office. Over the years I have built a solid relationship with these people, both personally and professionally. I enjoy my position and the career that I have chosen. Each day my job enables me to help people and make a difference in the community in which I was born and raised. The county clerk position will give me the opportunity to continue to serve the citizens of Calhoun County as well as grow my leadership.

What qualifies you to serve in this office?

Most importantly, I'm the only candidate with county clerk experience. Over the past 17 years I have held all positions within the office which has lead me to the chief deputy position for the past seven years. Citizens need someone who has first-hand experience, knowledge, and understanding of the position. I am a strong leader who is very motivated to deliver great results to our taxpayers. I am also very family oriented and hold myself to a high level of moral values. Lastly, I consider myself to be a very honest person with strong integrity.

If elected, how will you go about effectively serving your constituents?

I plan to cross-train employees on all aspects of the office, creating efficiencies that will benefit citizens using our services. Next, all technology and systems need to be upgraded and modernized. All records will be converted digitally for public viewing, payment options upgraded to include debit and credit, and working to offer more services online such as e-filing. I will also work to link our systems to the Vital Statistics of the State of Texas. Lastly, we will maintain a healthy, positive work environment that keeps our employees motivated to deliver superior customer service and efficiencies to our people.

Phone number, address, email address or website where people can contact you for more information:

• 361- 482-8393

• 1845 Royal Road, Port Lavaca, Texas 77979

• shelbysebastian@yahoo.com

Susan Riley

• Age: 56

• City/county of residence: Port Lavaca/Calhoun County

• Occupation: Administrative assistant to county judge

• Political party: Democratic

• Office Seeking: Calhoun County Clerk

• Email: riley4clerk@gmail.com or slrfmriley@gmail.com

Why do you want to serve in this position?

I would like to enhance the clerk's office with my standards of professionalism, customer service and courtesy. The citizens of Calhoun County deserve no less for their tax dollars. The clerk's office is the repository for all the records of the county; birth, death, marriage, etc. It is important that the right person be entrusted with the position. The clerk's office is one of the most customer oriented offices in the courthouse, and I love to serve the public. I know that I'm a strong leader, and will be effective in the position.

What qualifies you to serve in this office?

I have worked for Calhoun County for more than 21 years, with over 17 years in the judge's office and commissioners' court. I have an additional four years in the tax assessor's office and four years as a legal assistant, and currently work for county Judge Mike Pfeifer. I obtained my professional secretary certificate from UHV and have experience with all aspects of office management while working in the judge's office. Because of my extensive experience, I have already established working relationships with many of the agencies that use the clerk's office on a regular basis.

If elected, how will you go about effectively serving your constituents?

I will always be available to my constituents and will have an open door policy. I will work in the front office with my staff when necessary, as will my deputy clerk. My staff will be trained in customer service, and will be cross trained in all aspects of office functions. I plan on making more records digitally available to the public, and will work with the Information Technology Department and the court to upgrade technology. With my training as office manager, the public can be assured that the clerk's office will be run in a professional, efficient manner.

Phone number, address, email address or website where people can contact you for more information.

• Phone: 361-746-0861

• Address: 80 W. Meadowlark Drive, Port Lavaca TX 77979

• Email: riley4clerk@gmail.com or slrfmriley@gmail.com

Grace C. Gonzalez

• Age: 52

• City/county of residence: Port Lavaca/Calhoun Co.

• Occupation: Office manager/data coordinator

• Political party: Democrat

• Office Seeking: Calhoun County Clerk

• Email: ggonzalez582@gmail.com

Why do you want to serve in this position?

I'd like to serve as Calhoun Co. Clerk to pick up where our retiring Anita Fricke left off in updating and modernizing record keeping. I'd also like to make records that are open to the public more accessible. I would explore technical advancements in order to update programs to make records more accessible to the public through the Internet.

What qualifies you to serve in this office?

I've been employed by Calhoun County for more than 29 years and have been in a position where I have contact with the public on a daily basis.

While working for juvenile probation, I have had the responsibility of working with the restitution and supervisory accounts and being accountable for all funds. I have the knowledge of and assist with the department's purchasing accounts. I'm also the data coordinator for the department and I'm responsible for data and reports that are requested by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. I have numerous certificates. I'm also bi-lingual.

If elected, how will you go about effectively serving your constituents?

If elected, I will effectively go about serving my constituents by continuing to modernize record keeping and make records more accessible to the public. I'll make the county clerk's office more sustainable and maximize the efficiency of the county clerk's office. I will work closely with commissioners court and all internal/external stakeholders to accomplish these goals.

Phone number, address, email address or website where people can contact you for more information:

• Home: 361-552-1091

• Cell: 361-676-3207

• 724 Brookhollow Drive, Port Lavaca, TX 77979

• ggonzalez582@gmail.com