VERONA — It has been more than six months since Del. Steve Landes, R-Weyers Cave, announced his name would be under a different position on the November ballot — stepping down from the House of Delegates to run for the Augusta County clerk of circuit court.
During his campaign announcement, Landes pledged to get input and ideas so he could formulate a list of goals he would like to achieve if elected. And on Tuesday, those goals were announced.
“If elected on Nov. 5 by the citizens of Augusta County as the 17th clerk of circuit court, it is my intention to pursue nine goals and investigate and implement these objectives if possible,” Landes said.
Goals were divided into three categories of interest: innovating and working for all, preserving and promoting history and seeking input and advice.
To focus on working for the people, Landes said he would commit to analyzing each position and responsibility of every staff member in the clerk’s office by shadowing employees and seeking thoughts on what works and what does not work from staff within the first six months of taking office.
Landes also said he would investigate additional technology to assist the clerk’s staff to provide additional, efficient and cost-effective services to the county while reducing the staff’s workload.
“In addition, I would pledge to continuously evaluate new technology to save staff time and thus taxpayers’ funds,” Landes said.
By providing more services, Landes said he would look into the possibility of offering U.S. passports in the clerk’s office, which was discontinued in 2017.
The only location offering U.S. passports in Augusta County is the post office, according to Landes.
The final initiative to work for the people includes the possibility of offering plastic card versions of the Concealed Weapons Permit issued and processed by the circuit court.
“The plastic [Concealed Weapons Permit] makes it easier for folks to have,” Landes said.
In an effort to preserve and promote the history of Augusta County, Landes has proposed to continue obtaining grants through the Library of Virginia to preserve historic records of the county dating back to 1745. Landes would also like to make those records more accessible to residents of the county and look into possible additional venues to display documents in partnership with the Augusta County Historical Society’s Smith Center and the Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia proposed Crossing Gallery exhibit space.
In relation to making historic documents accessible to the public, Landes also made a goal to continue the process of digitizing historic records to make them available electronically.
Another goal would be to provide educational opportunities to Augusta County students and teachers.
Landes’ final goal, and of high priority, would be to create an Augusta County Clerk of Circuit Court Advisory Committee that would be made up of county residents, at least two members from the Augusta County Bar Association, Greater Augusta Association of Realtors, Augusta County Historical Society and the Augusta County Genealogical Society.
The purpose of the advisory committee would be to provide advice to the clerk of circuit court on various issues pertaining to the office, according to Landes.
Landes said he has received interest from some of the organizations and, if elected, hopes to have the committee formed by the end of the year.
Landes said his “most important priority” would be to attend and speak to civic clubs and organizations in the county about the clerk office’s services and historic records.
“Most people don’t know what the clerk of circuit court does,” Landes said. “There is no better way to find out the pulse of what is going on in Augusta County than talking with residents.”