Orphans’ Court and uncontested candidates speak at LWV forum
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.