By Samantha Joseph
MARTIN COUNTY - The woman who worked her way from an entry-level job to winning voters' confidence and the top position is seeking reelection.
Laurel Kelly, who became Martin County's property appraiser in 1992, has won re-election every four years since then.
She has worked in the property appraiser's office for more than 25 years and has about 30 years of experience in property appraisals.
She said her leadership has led to fair appraisals for property owners and an efficiently run office.
Hometown News does not endorse any candidates for political office, but instead, provides information about each candidate for voters to make an educated decision.
Name: Laurel Kelly
Occupation: Martin County property appraiser
Spouse and children: Married to Matt Kelly for 26 years. One son, Patrick, 17.
Q: How long have you lived in Martin County?
A: More than 35 years
Q: Why did you decide to run?
A: I'm running for office because I care about the people I represent and it's important to me that everyone is treated fairly. I want to continue to serve Martin County with my 20 years of experience as your property appraiser. My job becomes more complicated each year, due to issues such as the rapidly changing real estate market, new property tax laws and increased workloads to implement the constitutional amendments approved by the voters. My office must continually update and change in order to accomplish the job of fairly assessing all properties. I have a proven track record and the experience to successfully meet these challenges and protect you from over assessment.
Q: What are the top two issues you plan to address for the county?
A: First, you deserve honesty, respect and fair appraisals. One of the most important responsibilities of my job as property appraiser is to protect you from over-assessment by providing fair appraisals. My open-door policy is my promise to be accessible and accountable to you. Your questions and concerns will be answered promptly by me or my professional and knowledgeable staff. I pledge to continue my longstanding community outreach program, including evening meetings with homeowners associations and other community groups. My day as your property appraiser does not end at 5 p.m.
Second, my office must continually update and change in order to accomplish the job of fairly assessing all properties. The good news is we have and will continue to use current computer technology and automated record systems to help us reach our goals. The technology handles the large data base, which enables my well-trained appraisers to devote more time preparing fair appraisals and addressing your needs.
Q: What are the other central issues of your campaign?
A: I will continue to strive for the most accurate and efficient appraisal office delivered at the absolute lowest cost to the taxpayers.
I will also continue to deliver an ever-improving, user-friendly website designed with you in mind. It's easy to use, provides lots of information and in most cases, lets you find the answers you need without leaving home. This is especially important with gas prices having gone through the roof.
Q: What makes you the most qualified candidate?
A: I am the only candidate with more than 30 years of broad-based appraisal experience right here in Martin County. At the property appraiser's office I worked my way up from entry-level appraiser to the elected property appraiser.
I have a proven track record and I've kept the appraiser's office fine-tuned and adaptable to the ever-changing real estate market, technology and legislative environment.
I am enthusiastic, energetic and devoted to serving the citizens.
Phone: (cell) (772) 284-8862; (home) (772) 283-7800