BROWNSTOWN — A 22-year-old Jackson County native is set to begin her work as the new county clerk, replacing Amanda Lowery, starting Tuesday at the Jackson County Judicial Center in Brownstown.
Piper Acton grew up around politics and found inspiration through her mother, Melissa Acton, the district senior director for Sen. Todd Young.
Piper graduated from Trinity Lutheran High School in 2018 and attended Purdue University, receiving her bachelor’s degree in human services in 2021.
After that, she worked as a legal assistant at Montgomery, Elsner & Pardieck LLP in Seymour and was a marketing assistant and recruiter for Global Talent Resources in Carmel.
Wanting to use her degree to serve others in the community while combining her interest in politics, Acton saw that the upcoming position for county clerk would be a great opportunity.
On Jan. 5, Acton was elected during a caucus of precinct committeemen and committeewomen to fill a vacancy created when newly elected Clerk Amanda Lowery resigned to take the position of district director with Indiana Ninth District Congresswoman Erin Houchin.
“A goal for my staff and I is to provide a high level of customer service for the people of Jackson County and improve the elections to make it a smooth process as possible,” she said.
In this county elected position, Acton will serve Jackson County and the courts in many administrative and election-related functions. The county clerk serves a dual role as a state election law administrator and an administrator to the judiciary.
Acton is given a great deal of responsibility and duties to carry out.
“We serve the courts, which serves residents of Jackson County, whether that’s from marriage licenses to passports or filings to the court,” she said.
Elections also fall under the county clerk’s responsibility, making sure everything is running smoothly for the community.
When the period of elections take place, the clerk will receive filings of candidacy from people seeking certain elected public offices and issue certificates of election to successful local candidates, except in the case of constitutional officers.
The county clerk also serves as an ex-officio member, someone who holds another office of importance, and secretary of the county election board. The clerk also is responsible for appointing other members of the county election board and the board of canvassers.
The county clerk ensures all election polling sites meet state and federal guidelines and makes sure that election workers are trained.
Duties of the judiciary will be Acton’s responsibility, too.
Access to the courts often begins in the county clerk’s office. This is where individuals go to obtain access to court records.
The clerk maintains all records of pleading, motions, papers, evidence and court rulings of the court. The issuing of summonses and subpoenas to witnesses ordering them to appear in court is another duty.
The clerk also issues marriage licenses and records, maintains oaths of office and keeps a record of all judgments, orders and decrees of the court.
The clerk certifies and attests to complete transcripts of court proceedings involving title to property, the imposition of prison sentences and in all court cases where a complete court record is required.
In the presence of jury commissioners, the clerk draws the names of prospective jurors for juries and issues summonses to prospective jurors. The collection of court costs, fines and money judgment levied by the court is another duty of the county clerk. In recent years, the collection of child support has become a major responsibility of the clerk’s office.
Acton said she sees this opportunity as a way to challenge herself and learn more about how to best serve Jackson County.
“Coming into this position with little experience, I don’t see that as a downside,” she said. “I am willing to learn and excited, as well. The advice I have been getting from the staff has been really helpful.”
With the great responsibility that comes with being the county clerk, Acton finds herself motivated by others around her and through that is excited to make a difference within her position.
“Amanda and the rest of the staff have been great about boosting confidence within myself knowing that this job is benefiting people,” Acton said.
She hopes to use her skills of communicating, problem-solving and conflict resolution toward this position in helping the community. She hopes to take the advice and qualities that her mother instilled in her into this position.
“She is very driven, a great communicator and I look up to her a lot. I learn something new about her and what she does every day,” Acton said. “I hope to use her guidance as I prepare for this position.”
Being born and raised in Jackson County, Acton loves the connection she gets to experience while working for a small town.
“I just love the small town feel. Everyone knows everyone, and we are able to make connections,” she said.
One of the things she enjoys is being able to travel and spend time with her family. Last summer, she and her family traveled Route 66 all the way to the Santa Monica Pier in California.
Sports is another pastime Acton enjoys, especially when she has the chance to represent the basketball team and football team at Purdue.
As the next generation makes its way into the working force and other positions, Acton speaks on the importance of the younger generation getting involved and being informed within their community.
“The future relies on the next generation, and I just think it is important for everyone to at least be informed and hopefully involved, as well,” she said. “A goal of mine is to put more information out there, especially to the younger generation, getting those people to the polling sites.”
After graduating from college, Acton found it difficult to find what she wanted to do as a career, but now, she has found her place serving Jackson County.
“Now that I have experienced some things involving the position, I see a light like this is where I am supposed to be,” Acton said. “There is still so much for me to learn, but I am excited to be in this position and learn from my peers.”