Or­phans’ Court and un­con­tested candidates speak at LWV fo­rum

Kent County News - - NEWS - By DANIEL DIVILIO ddivilio@thekent­coun­tynews.com

CH­ESTER­TOWN — The four candidates for the three seats on the Or­phan’s Court bench and those run­ning in un­con­tested races for county of­fice were given a chance to in­tro­duce them­selves to at­ten­dees at a League of Women Vot­ers fo­rum Oct. 18.

The fo­rum was hosted by the league’s Kent County chap­ter in the Ch­ester­town fire­house. The evening be­gan with the six com­mis­sion­ers candidates and ended with the candidates run­ning for Or­phans’ Court judge, Cir­cuit Court judge, clerk of the Cir­cuit Court, reg­is­ter of wills and sher­iff.

“This is one of the few times the un­der­card comes af­ter the main event,” quipped Cir­cuit Court Judge Har­ris Mur­phy, who is un­con­tested in his race to re­main on the bench for a 15-year term.

Fool­low­ing the com­mis­sion­ers fo­rum, each of the Or­phans’ Court and un­con­tested candidates were given two min­utes to talk about them­selves.

Or­phans’ Court in­cum­bents El­roy G. “E.G.” Boyer Jr., a Demo­crat, Betty Car­roll and Amy Nick­er­son, both Repub­li­cans, face a chal­lenge from Demo­crat Al­lan Schauber.

Boyer has served on the Or­phans’ Court for 28 years, 24 of those as the chief judge. He and his wife own Boyer’s Jew­el­ers in Ch­ester­town.

“The Or­phans’ Court deals with wills and es­tates. Some­times it should be called ‘Fam­ily Feud.’ You know the adage: ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a rel­a­tive,’” Boyer said.

He said in the past 28 years, the Cir­cuit Court has not over­turned any of the Or­phans’ Court’s de­ci­sions or rul­ings. He said he has never missed a hear­ing or a day and checks in at the of­fice to re­view pend­ing cases

“As an elected of­fi­cial, you owe it to the peo­ple of Kent County to be there. And I am,” Boyer said.

Car­roll, who is fin­ish­ing her first four-year term on the Or­phans’ Court, is orig­i­nally from Philadel­phia. She moved to Kent County 49 years ago.

“And I don’t want to go back to Philly ever. This is a beau­ti­ful place to be,” she said.

Car­roll served as a mem­ber of the Galena town coun­cil for 26 years.

She said it has been a real priv­i­lege serv­ing on the Or­phans’ Court and an eye­open­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. She said it re­quires a lot of train­ing.

“And each Tues­day, there’s some­thing new to learn,” Car­roll said. “I would just ask your sup­port for four more years.”

Nick­er­son, a life­long Kent County res­i­dent, is seek­ing her sec­ond four-year term as well on the Or­phans’ Court. She pre­vi­ously spent more than two decades work­ing in the Of­fice of the Clerk of the Cir­cuit Court for Kent County.

She said she and Car­roll were his­tory-makers in Kent County, be­ing the first two women elected to the Or­phans’ Court.

“I would ap­pre­ci­ate your vote in sup­port of me again for re-elec­tion,” Nick­er­son said, de­scrib­ing this year’s four-per­son race as a game of mu­si­cal chairs. “The four candidates run­ning will def­i­nitely rep­re­sent Kent County well and do a good job.”

A re­tired fire­fighter for Aberdeen Prov­ing Ground, Schauber is a Kent County na­tive and has been a mem­ber of the Kent-Queen Anne’s Res­cue Squad for 35 years, chief for 12 years. He works for Fel­lows, Helfen­bien and New­nam Fu­neral Home.

“I am run­ning be­cause I want to help ed­u­cate the pub­lic as to what needs to take place and tran­spire be­fore your last days on this Earth. Be­cause once you’re gone, if it’s not writ­ten down, your wishes are not go­ing to be fol­lowed through,” Schauber said.

Judge Mur­phy, a Repub­li­can, was ap­pointed to the Cir­cuit Court bench by Gov. Larry Ho­gan in 2017. Be­fore that he was the state’s at­tor­ney for Kent County. He also pre­vi­ously served as a pub­lic de­fender.

“I’ve been prac­tic­ing law here in one form or an­other for 22-some odd years,” Mur­phy said.

He said that while unop­posed, he still hopes to re- ceive ev­ery­one’s vote.

Demo­crat Mark Mum­ford has served 28 years as the clerk of the Cir­cuit Court for Kent County. Be­ing the pre­sump­tive win­ner of an un­con­tested race, he will be elected to his eighth term this year.

Mum­ford of­fered a quick run­down of the role of his of­fice, from main­tain­ing a va­ri­ety of pub­lic records to per­form­ing civil mar­riage cer­e­monies. He spoke about ef­forts to dig­i­tize records and make them avail­able on­line.

“I’m al­ways there for you. Come see the clerk’s of­fice any­time,” Mum­ford told the au­di­ence.

Kristi Os­born, a Demo­crat, is run­ning unop­posed for her first elected four-year term as reg­is­ter of wills. She was ap­pointed to the post, which overseas es­tate mat­ters, last year af­ter long­time of­fice­holder Nancy Lee Jewell re­signed.

“(I) love the job. I’m so lucky I don’t have any op­po­si­tion this year, but I would still love to have ev­ery­one’s vote. And we’re al­ways there if you need us, any time,” Os­born said.

For­mer sher­iff John F. Price, a Repub­li­can, is seek­ing re-elec­tion to the job he re­signed from Sept. 30 as a re­quire­ment of his re­tire­ment ben­e­fits. He served as sher­iff for 24 years and is unop­posed in his cam­paign for an­other four-year term, which he would be able to start Dec. 4 — the swear­ing-in date for most other county posts — un­der the re­quire­ments of his pre­vi­ous re­tire­ment pack­age.

Price pre­vi­ously served with the Ch­ester­town Po­lice Depart­ment and the Kent County Sher­iff’s Of­fice as a deputy. He was elected sher­iff in 1994.

“I’ve been a law en­force­ment of­fi­cer here in the county for 39 years, all of it lo­cally with Ch­ester­town and the sher­iff’s of­fice,” Price said. “I am com­mit­ted to main­tain­ing the same level of ser­vice to the county, main­tain­ing safe schools with our school re­source of­fi­cer pro­grams and com­mit­ted to also work­ing with the en­tire com­mu­nity and other or­ga­ni­za­tions to bet­ter Kent County.”

Early vot­ing runs Oct. 25 to Nov. 1. Elec­tion day is Nov. 6.

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