In a written statement, Mrs. Harris said, “It has come time for me, as County Treasurer, to inform the citizens and voters of Upshur County that I will not seek reelection as Treasurer. After much prayer and discussions with my husband, I think that this is the path that we want and need to take at this time in our life.”
Mrs. Harris joins the only other Democrat holding an Upshur County elective office, Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace W.V. Ray, in deciding not to seek reelection next year. (115th District Judge Lauren Parish has also been elected as a Democrat, but her post is elected by voters in both Upshur and Marion Counties).
Other than Ray, Mrs. Harris has held her office longer than any current elected official in the county, and has been on the county payroll in various capacities for 32 years.
She noted that the Upshur County Commissioners Court appointed her to office effective Jan. 1, 1993, when her predecessor, the late Vernon Vick, retired in the middle of his 4-year term for health reasons. (She had joined the county government as an Assistant Auditor to then-County Auditor Keith Barber on Feb. 11, 1981, and had transferred to the Treasurer’s Office on Nov. 18, 1985.)
After being sworn in as Treasurer by the late then-County Judge Everett Dean, she was elected in her own right as Treasurer in 1994, and reelected in 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010.
When she was appointed, Mrs. Harris became the first woman to hold a countywide elective office here in recent memory.
“I have seen many changes during the years that I have been here,” she wrote. “We went from the ‘Big Chief tablet and number two pencil days,’ as former Comm. Gaddis Lindsey would say several times, to being at the courthouse when a big truck brought in our first computer on a wooden pallet during the Yamboree. What a difference this made for the county offices.”
With the help of computers, she noted, her office handles payroll, accounts payable, retirement, health insurance, federal and state reports, worker’s compensation, unemployment, and human resources, among other duties— “and always having such a great staff also helps.”
Adding that she receives and deposits money daily from county offices, as well as receiving and depositing payments from state and federal governments, she thanked banks in the county which have acted as the county depository. She said she had worked closely with them, and expressed gratitute to banks’ staffs and officials.
“I want to thank all the dedicated employees and officials of the County that have worked with me and my office over the years,” Mrs. Harris added. “To my employees that have worked for me in the Treasurer’s Office, a special thanks to let each of you know that I appreciate all the hard work that you have done, and will continue to do, until I leave office at the end of my term December 31, 2014.
“Special thanks to the Good Lord and my church, Walnut Creek Baptist Church of Diana for all the prayers,” she said. “Thank you for all the support that my friends and family have given to (my husband) Ray and me over the years, especially our children. Ray, my husband of 46 years, I love you and appreciate you for being there for me.
To the people of Upshur County, Upshur County is a great place to live and be a part of and even though it has had problems, there is a saying that says ‘This too shall pass.’ Upshur County will grow and become stronger,” the statement concluded.