I possess a Bachelor’s in Communication from Florida State University and am a fourth generation Washington County resident, born into a tradition of community service and involvement.
Many may remember my grandfather, Eugene Blankenship, who opened Washington County’s first Radio Shack or my grandmother, June Blankenship Johns, who became the first woman in the county to hold a real estate broker license. Both served Washington County for many years through their memberships in multiple civic organizations.
My parents, Mike and Mary Lee Blankenship, also contributed to Washington County’s economy through their small business, Chipley Communications, which they ran for many years.
My bonus grandfather, Marion Johns – affectionately known as “Beepum” – was a local pharmacist, but if you shopped at Piggly Wiggly in the ‘90s, you’ll remember he enjoyed closing down the store each night as another way of interacting with the public.
The tradition of service continues in my daughter, 12-year-old Abigail, who is learning how important it is to love, serve, and support one’s community.
I intend to bring that spirit of service to the Clerk’s Office through my dedication to integrity, progress, accessibility, and accountability.
My goals include ensuring an open office policy, making sure any resident who has a concern can come see their elected Clerk directly and have those concerns addressed.
In short, the public should not have to pass through a layer of staff before they can speak to the person who was elected to serve them.
Accessibility to your Constitutional Officers is a key component of accountability, and I will ensure that accessibility is upheld here through staunch transparency and compliance with Florida’s Open Records and Sunshine Laws. Unfortunately, three settlements have been paid out over the last four years in lawsuits over the Office’s violation of the state’s Open Record Laws – cases which became cautionary tales and are now used in public official and ethics trainings across the state.
I will also ensure more uniform training for Deputy Clerks, as a common concern I’ve heard on my listening tour of Washington County is that residents have encountered inconsistencies while dealing with the Office in the past.
On a personal note, I want to also assure you that I am up to the task physically. Many of you may know I recently won a difficult battle against breast cancer – but not only am I done with active treatment, I am cheered on by my oncologist, as well as my current employer, who have both offered their full support. I ask for your support, too, on August 18, so I can start working for you.