6:36 a.m. - With Election Day just a few days away, High Country Radio will take a look at one of the most contested races in the High Country, the Watauga County Clerk of Superior Court.
There are five candidates running for office; three Democrats and two Republicans. We’ll start our series of political profiles with the current Clerk of Superior Court, Wanda Howell, who is running as a Republican.
Howell said she has worked in the court system for almost 23 years. She explained former Clerk of Superior Court, John T. Bingham, hired her in June of 1987 as a Deputy Clerk of Court. She served as Deputy Clerk of Court until 1993, when she accepted the position of Judicial Assistant. Howell has served as the Superior Court Clerk since April 1, 2009.
Howell said, “I have worked in every aspect of the clerk’s office including estates, special proceedings, civil district and superior, criminal district and superior, juvenile and jury clerk. I feel that I am more qualified than any candidate seeking the Clerk’s position. Being a Clerk of Superior Court entails more than just administration. You are the judge of probate, incompetency proceedings and guardianships. You will be called upon to rule on default judgments, extension of times and many more tasks. I am experienced and feel that I can handle any situation that comes before me as the Clerk for Watauga County with ease.”
Howell said she’s made several changes while in office. She explained, “We have improved the jury system, updated computers, preparing for the new NC Aware system, cross training all employees and offering great public service… I feel that my staff and I, together, have made the Watauga County Clerk’s Office one of the finest in the State of North Carolina. We treat everyone that comes into contact with the Clerk’s office with respect and fairness while following the guidelines and laws set by the State of North Carolina.”
When asked what her favorite part about her current role as Watauga County’s Clerk of Superior Court, Howell said, “The people. Absolutely the people and helping others. It was my goal when I first took office to be able to touch someone in a positive way each day and I think I’ve been able to do that.”
When asked why she decided to run in this election to retain her role as Clerk of Superior Court, Howell said, “I feel like I have made a difference and I would like to continue to make a difference. The staff is very happy there. I don’t think I was given an option to run or not. I was pretty much told by them that I would run.”
Howell said she is a member of Clerk of Superior Court Association of NC, Judicial Support Staff of NC, Assistant and Deputy Clerks of NC, Boone Service League, Bluestar Moms, Watauga County Republican Women’s Club and past Rotarian. She has also served as Treasure, Vice President and President of the NC Judicial Support Staff. She explained that she’s a member of Flat Springs Baptist Church in Avery County, but attends Alliance Fellowship Church.
Howell is also a licensed cosmetologist, a NC Certified Concealed to Carry Instructor and a Notary Public Instructor for Caldwell Community College.
Howell is the daughter of Ruth Rominger of the Bethel Community and the late Kodell Howell. She has two children Jason W. Harmon, an attorney, practicing in the law office of Robert T. Speed and Chasity Rominger and husband Brian, who is currently deployed with the National Guard 30th Brigade. She has two granddaughters Emma Grace and Cora Faith Rominger.
Howell faces current Watauga County School Board member Lowell Younce in Tuesday’s primaries.
*Photo courtesy of Wanda Howell