GOP elects new county clerk

A Seymour woman was picked to replace newly elected Jackson County Clerk Amanda Lowery during a Republican caucus on Thursday night in Brownstown.

Piper Acton, the only candidate on the ballot, was elected during the gathering of committeemen and committeewomen at the courthouse.

Acton will replace Lowery, who resigned from the position she was elected to during the Nov. 8 general election. Lowery submitted her resignation, effective Jan. 13, on New Year’s Day after being elected to fill the at-large county council seat vacated by Dave Hall of Norman after he was elected to the state House District 62 seat during the general election.

A person cannot hold two elected positions at the same time, which led to Lowery’s decision to resign as county clerk.

She also recently accepted the position of district director of newly elected Indiana Ninth District Congresswoman Erin Houchin of Salem. That position will require Lowery to travel across the district, which spans all of 17 counties and part of Bartholomew County in southeastern Indiana.

Lowery, who also is chairwoman of the Jackson County Republican Party, said Acton was the only candidate on the ballot for the caucus after a second potential candidate failed to file the paperwork needed to apply for the office within the required time period. The period to file paperwork to be a candidate in a caucus ends 72 hours prior to it starting, and the paperwork must be filed with the Republican Party chairperson, Lowery said.

“It’s part of the Indiana Republican rules,” Lowery said Friday.

She said the rules do not allow for exceptions and that none have been made in the past or will be in the future, and there are no extensions allowed.

And unlike the state’s election rules, the filing period includes weekends and holidays, Lowery said.

Acton, a 2018 graduate of Trinity Lutheran High School, said Friday morning that she plans to rely on Lowery’s guidance early in her four-year term as county clerk.

“I definitely have a lot to learn,” the 22-year-old said. “I have a great staff. All of them are good at their jobs. They have lots to teach me, and I think I have good backing in the courthouse and just everywhere in the county. There are a lot of people to learn from, but Amanda will definitely serve as my mentor.”

Lowery said the decision to go to work for Houchin and resign as county clerk was a struggle for her.

“I love the clerk’s office, and I want to see it succeed,” she said. “She (Acton) is willing to take charge and to try and learn new things, and she will accept nothing but success.”

Acton also will work toward a goal and see it through to the end, Lowery said.

“She’s a go-getter and she will learn and she will do a good job,” she said.

Lowery said it doesn’t hurt that Acton grew up around politics because her mother, Melissa Zabel-Acton, now is a member of U.S. Sen. Todd Young’s staff. Prior to working for Young, Zabel-Acton was a member of former Indiana Ninth District Congressman Trey Hollingsworth’s staff.

“She’s learned a thing or two about politics from her mom,” Lowery said.

And while politics is not the most important part of the clerk’s job, it’s a big part since the clerk runs the elections, she said.

Acton, who graduated from Purdue University in December 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in human services, will officially become county clerk on Jan. 14.

The county clerk is responsible for administering elections and is the administrator to the judiciary. Clerks also issue marriage licenses and maintain all court records.