Political newcomers vying for clerk of courts


Two political newcomers hope to stake their claim to the Jackson County clerk of courts office in the Nov. 6 general election.

Both Democrat Kathy Schafstall and Republican Melissa Elkins Hayes have some things in common.

They both live in Seymour and claim to have the knowledge to do the job that involves a myriad of duties, from issuing marriage licenses to processing child support payments and from passport applications to managing voter registrations and elections. The office also handles processing court documents for all legal cases in local courts.

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“I am the best candidate for the job because my role as first deputy of Jackson Superior Court II has allowed me to gain valuable insight into the day-to-day operations of the Jackson County clerk’s office,” Hayes said. “This has given me a unique perspective that I will use to keep the clerk’s office moving into the future.”

Schafstall said she has the integrity to do the job and is hardworking.

“I am a people person,” she said. “I enjoy working with different people and the public. I have budget experience from when I owned my landscaping business and from here at the hospital.”

Schafstall is the grounds supervisor at Schneck Medical Center in Seymour.

“I think I am a person who can work with all kinds of people with different personalities,” she said. “I had about 10 employees when I had my own business. I worked with college and high school students and their schedules and still got the job done.”

Hayes said the opening of the county judicial center in Brownstown later this year means the present three offices of the county clerk will be combined into one in the center.

“It will bring some changes to the daily operations of the clerk’s office and will offer the opportunity to create more efficiencies by cross-training employees,” she said.

Hayes also said voter security and maintaining the integrity of the elections must be a priority.

Schafstall said she will look at the operations of the office before making any decisions about changes.

Her focus from the start, however, will be meeting the needs of the public while being respectful of all.

“I want all my employees to be respectful,” she said. “I was always taught if you respect someone, they will show you respect back.”

Hayes said she has truly loved working and serving the residents of Jackson County over the years.

“Prior to working as first deputy, I worked in an accounting firm for six years,” she said. “I will utilize that experience when I become clerk.”

Schafstall said her decision to run is prompted by her desire to serve the public.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and I just decided the time was right,” she said.

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Melissa Elkins Hayes” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Name: Melissa Elkins Hayes

Age: 41

Home: Seymour

Education: Graduate of Seymour High School; attended Ivy Tech Community College for two-plus years to study accounting

Occupation: First deputy clerk at Jackson Superior Court II in Brownstown

Family: Two daughters

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Name: Kathy Schafstall

Age: 63

Home: Seymour

Education: 1973 graduate of Brownstown Central High School

Occupation: Grounds supervisor at Schneck Medical Center in Seymour

Family: Husband, John Schafstall; three children; and seven grandchildren


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