Democrats Matthew Casberg and Alexa Kim are running for Latah County clerk in the May 17 primary election.

One Republican, Julie Fry, is also vying for the position and will face off against the winner of the Democratic primary election in the general election in November.

Casberg is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran with more than 25 years of administrative experience. Kim has worked in the auditor’s office for almost four years and is the lead recording deputy and passport facilities manager.

The Latah County clerk serves a 4-year term.

Constitutional and statutory laws give the county clerk five distinct titles: clerk of the district court, auditor, recorder, clerk of the board of county commissioners and chief elections officer of the county.

Matthew Casberg

Why are you running for clerk?

I’m running for Latah County clerk because, in our current political environment, we need the type of experience and strong leadership that can stand up against partisan divisiveness and serve as a stalwart against any attempts to subvert the duties of the clerk’s office for personal or political gain. With more than 25 years of administrative experience and my background as a veteran of the Marine Corps, I feel I represent both the experience and strong leadership the clerk’s office requires to continue to serve as a source of stability in Latah County.

What skills and knowledge do you bring to the table?

I have served in a multitude of administration disciplines over 25 years in the field. From working as a government and military liaison to working with the developmentally disadvantaged, I have learned that no single mindset of how to best serve the community is sufficient. The clerk needs to be able to balance the needs of the community with the needs of the county while serving both in the best possible way. My experience in the military and government, health care, and the retail industry have given me a diverse and well-developed skillset well suited for the position.

What do you think is the most important aspect of the clerk’s job and why?

I don’t see any one responsibility of the clerk being more important than any other. The county clerk position is responsible for the smooth operation of all the processes under them and, regardless of the hot-button topic of the moment, the clerk must maintain the efficient operation of the records and the budget as well as upholding the standards and practices of the elections officer for the county. Placing too much emphasis on any one aspect of the position belies the necessity of having someone with relative experience and leadership in all these duties holding the office.

Alexa Kim

Why are you running for clerk?

I have worked in the auditor’s office for almost four years. I am familiar with the responsibilities of the office, and have worked diligently to better understand the different positions of my peers. The current political climate has brought unprecedented scrutiny of our elections process. As someone who has witnessed — and been a part of — Latah County elections for years, I feel confident in our current systems. I wish to continue to keep our elections fair, secure and transparent. I would like to initiate projects that will streamline complicated procedures and ensure the accuracy of the county’s financial management.

What skills and knowledge do you bring to the table?

I have worked in the auditor’s office for almost four years. I am the lead recording deputy and passport facilities manager, I process all county alcohol license applications, and I am the elections director’s second in performing election duties. Every day, I issue marriage licenses, accept passport applications, and assist the public with concerns about recorded documents and elections. I have designed and implemented projects and events that required precision, delegation, budgeting and intense collaboration. I have a bachelor’s degree in English, which has enhanced my attention to detail, my comprehension and writing skills, and my desire to understand human motivation.

What do you think is the most important aspect of the clerk’s job and why?

The county clerk wears many hats: clerk of the district court and board of the county commissioners, ex-officio auditor, recorder, chief of elections, as well as overseeing social services. With their responsibilities in so many different areas, the most important aspect of the position is to remain nonpartisan when moving between the different duties. The clerk ensures all these offices are balancing serving the public and following Idaho Code. As someone who works directly with voters every day, I must always present myself in this capacity. This is a skill that many struggle with, but I will not be swayed.

Palermo can be reached at apalermo@dnews.com or on Twitter @apalermotweets.

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