Surrounded by supporters near the downtown “love” sign, Carson Beard recently announced his candidacy in the March 30 special election for the clerk of Culpeper County Circuit Court.
Beard, 30, is the circuit court's interim clerk, a position he assumed upon long-time Clerk Janice Corbin’s retirement at the end of 2020. Whoever wins the election will serve out the four years remaining on her eight-year term.
So far, Beard's lone opponent is Marshall Keene - school board member, sheriff’s office detective and the local Republican committee’s chairman.
While Beard is aware that constitutional offices require campaigning, he has chosen to run as an independent, saying “politics has no place in the clerk’s office.” He added that the past three clerks were independents.
“The office should be a place where people, no matter political affiliation, can come and be helped. If elected, I pledge to you that I will remain non-partisan,” he said.
Beard began working in the circuit court clerk’s office after graduating from James Madison University in 2014 with a justice studies degree. He began as a deputy clerk, a job that Beard said made him realize “just how many tasks came with it” and helped him gain “invaluable knowledge.”
“I can still remember my first day,” he said. “I was so excited to begin this new opportunity. Over the next six years, the passion for the job grew exponentially,” he said.
Beard was later promoted to chief deputy, which he said “gave me the opportunity to take on more of a leadership role, and with proper approvals, I was able to implement video in the courtroom.”
Upon Corbin's retirement, Beard said he was honored to be appointed interim clerk.
Corbin introduced and endorsed Beard at his campaign announcement. She recalled his interview, during which he asked for a chance.
“That was the best chance I ever gave,” Corbin said.
She said Beard is “loyal and dedicated” in his professional and personal life. His knowledge and experience, she said, will make him a great leader.
If elected, Beard said his top three goals center around technological advances in the office. His top priority, if elected, would be to begin scanning criminal files into the computer system. Next, he hopes to initiate an “e-filing” system allowing civil attorneys to file cases without coming to the office. Thirdly, he wants to implement an online payment system.
“I hope to take the office even further. One of the things that I am most passionate about is improving the technology we use, thus allowing greater and easier access to the office,” he said.
Most importantly, Beard said the office should be accessible to citizens and offer efficient services. The technological advances would allow him to achieve his primary goal of serving Culpeper County's citizens.
Beard said the clerkship is the “job I know and the job I want to do.”
He said “this job is my passion and with my experience, I feel that I have the knowledge, training and capability to serve Culpeper in the clerk’s office effectively and efficiently.”
“Thank you to all of those who have reached out. All I want to do is continue to do the job that I love,” he said.
A lifelong Culpeper resident, he said his grandfather George Beard, a former state delegate, “instilled in me the love of community and service to it.”