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Jarrett Stone Sets Agenda With Strong Campaign In Pittsylvania County Clerk of Court Race – Mike Swanson

I’m supporting Jarrett Stone in his campaign to be elected as Clerk of Court in Pittsylvania County. Mr. Stone is running a strong campaign, having gone door to door throughout the whole county, more than any other single political candidate, and has raised more money so far than any of the other five candidates who are also running for Clerk of Court. According to reporting by Chuck Vipperman, he raised $15,146 and then Jennifer Wyatt came in second for raising $11,736 and then Angie Reece Harris raised $9,257. After her, Karen Dixon raised $7,070, Heidi Jones $6,183, and Seth Scarce $5,220.

Raising a lot of money is the mark of a strong campaign, as it is a sign of solid support, but there is more to being a good candidate than that. These races are not simple popularity contests. While some candidates are running mostly on their personality, Jarrett Stone also has set a strong agenda for what he hopes to accomplish if he were to win the election. In response to a Danville-Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce survey of the candidates, Mr. Stone said that his three priorities, if he were to win, consisted of the following:

“1. Increase pay for Deputy Clerks. It is important to improve pay to retain employees, boost morale, and increase productivity.”

“2. Continuing the preservation of records. There are some documents in the Clerk’s Office that are deteriorating. This may be the only link some people have to their past and it must be protected.”

“3. Making more of our services available online. COVID presented many obstacles that the Clerk’s Office was not prepared for. Offering more services online would be more convenient for citizens and increase office efficiency.”

When asked by the Chamber of Commerce what makes separates him from his opponents he answered, “I was a Deputy Sheriff in a fast paced / high volume criminal justice office in the Danville, Pittsylvania County area for over twenty years, and a supervisor for over fifteen of those years. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice that I earned while working full time and raising a family with my wife. I have gained experience working with all three courts in Pittsylvania County. I am a board member of the Pittsylvania Historical Society and trustee of the Callands Clerk’s Office. I am a graduate of the Leadership Southside program, and a graduate of the Piedmont Criminal Justice Training Academy. It is through the latter I am certified through the Department of Criminal Justice Services. What separates me from my opponents is my experience in leadership. Being a leader is about developing people and motivating them to work as a team. Currently there is a great team of Deputy Clerks working in the Clerks Office, but every team needs a leader. With my experience I feel that I am that leader.”

Almost none of the other Clerk of Court candidates has any experience at all of being in a supervisory position over other workers or employees, and Mr. Stone is the single candidate with by far the most such experience.

Ultimately, the voters will decide on election day who the next Clerk of Court for Pittsylvania County will be and Jarrett Stone needs your vote to win.

He has a lot of signs throughout the whole county and so does Angie Reece Harris who has the support of Supervisor Ronald Scearce and Bob Warren. I found that out myself the hard way after I wrote an article back in August, which showed that her campaign finance forms were incorrect. The biggest problem with them was that she had been raising money via GoFundMe and it was impossible to account for all of the money she raised there in her campaign finance filings. It seemed to me that there were at least six, and probably more, missing donations on the forms. It was clearly impossible for the closing balances on her campaign finance forms to have been correct.

Within hours of my article going online, Westover District Board of Supervisor (BOS) Ronald Scearce made a Facebook post of his own, in response, to defend Mrs. Harris calling my article “lies.” He wrote, in a long rant on his Facebook page, “I suppose in November there will be a referendum on those that tell LIES and those that listen to them. Like how the Lame Stream Media, DOJ, & court systems have colluded to manipulate the 2024 election with attacks on President Trump, I believe most people have enough discernment to see through the LIES of little Mikey’s ‘opinion pieces!’ He is quite the embarrassment!”

Then Mr. Scearce made, in his post, the claim that Vic Ingram had something to do with the article – which he did not and he had no idea I was even working on it when I was. Angie has a lot of friends, she is a likeable person and a lot of people like her, and Ron Scearce was trying to make them turn against Ingram with this false claim. Scearce wrote, “You know when Mikey starts LYING about you, you have hit Vic with some truths he can’t combat on his own!”

Whenever someone does something that Mr. Scearce does not like he blames Ingram for it, even when he has nothing to do with it. All you have to do is look at Scearce’s Facebook posts and you’ll seen nonstop rants about Ingram, like Ronald Scearce is obsessed with him, making the county look silly.

Mr. Scearce was very angry about what I wrote in that article.

So was Bob Warren, who went on a rant at the end of the August Board of Supervisors meeting about it, defending Angie’s incomplete finance forms, by claiming that I am a blogger who spreads “lies” and uses “non-factual information.” He was upset about the article I wrote about Angie’s forms, saying of her:

“I don’t have a relationship with her we’re not good friends uh… I really met her this year when she decided to run for commissioner of uh I mean Clerk of Court, and I have seen and been to many meetings that involved folks that were running for office and I’ve seen this young lady stand up and speak on multiple occasions I’ve had multiple conversations with her and not one time have I heard this lady say anything negative nor derogatory about anyone running for this position or any other position. And I’m not going to mention the person’s name people keep asking me who is you talking about I’m not going to mention his name and I’m not going to mention his little blog because all that does is gives him some more people to go look at it if you can’t use your own name first of all you’ve got to use a national name to get anybody to look at you then you’ve got a problem to start with stand up on your own two feet the next thing is he made references to character and integrity, but yet he’s sponsoring a person or endorsed a person that is running in a Banister District that has already been fined for using illegal signs in his campaign.”

I have my name on every article I write and unlike Scearce family members, or allies, do not post on Facebook with fake accounts.

There are three BOS candidates in the Bannister District. I have written about what the candidates said at previous BOS meetings and simply pointed out in a post that I was at an event in which Scearce endorsed incumbent Robert Tucker and Warren himself praised him too just last week, along with BOS candidate Ken Bowman, in a video event that the Chamber of Commerce posted on their Facebook page, but I have not endorsed, “sponsored,” or campaigned for any individual candidate in the Bannister District.

I think that’s an honest misperception on his part.

However, I also would say that having improper campaign finance forms, in which you do not account for money you raised from people on the forms, is a much more serious campaign violation than having campaign signs that do not have the proper paid for campaign notification on the bottom of them – especially for someone that is running for the Clerk of Circuit Court position, whose job will be to keep detailed and proper records for the court and the citizens of the county.

To Scearce and Warren, though, it was “lies” and unacceptable to even bring these issues up. They were supporting her and that is all that mattered to them.

However, all the information I put in that article is factual with links to where I got the information, so people could look it all up for themselves.

In fact, the reality is that what happened was a complaint was filed with the county General Registrar and she acted and sent a letter to Angie Harris requesting specific fixes to her campaign finance forms. That’s the correct procedure and how the process works. The letter set a deadline for the fixes to be made. Here is that letter, which I got after doing a FOIA with the county.

Mrs. Harris submitted revised forms on 8/28/2023, which did not fix every single thing requested. That resulted in another letter from the General Registrar, which included with it a civil fine.

The fine, and these two letters, show that what Warren and Scearce called “lies” was in fact very real.

As for Mrs. Harris, while Ron Scearce responded to my post about her campaign forms hours after I published it, she responded to it a few days later on Facebook. In that post she did not address any of the problems I found in her forms. I thought she would respond by simply saying she had made a mistake and argue that it wasn’t a big deal, as Warren and Scearce don’t seem to think it matters. It is the first time she has run for office and you can always make a mistake the first time you do something. Everyone makes mistakes. Instead, she completely ignored the issues on her forms, pretending like they didn’t exist, and made out that what I wrote was a personal “attack” against her.

She wrote:

“Hi everyone! I hope you all are having a good week! Larry and I are on a much needed vacation (especially sweet Larry). This may be a little long, but as much as I would love to ignore comments made about me and the running of my campaign, I feel like God wants us to love one another but also take up for ourselves when when are being attacked over and over. The first thing that came to mind when I read the attacks on me was WHY? I have gone out of my way to speak with Michael and ask him to call me so we could discuss any questions he may have about me or my campaign and he GAVE ME HIS WORD HE WOULD. That didn’t last a month. And this most recent attack was worse than the first one. When I use the word attack, I don’t use it lightly. I feel exactly that – attacked.”

I do not believe it is a sin to expect candidates who run for office to run their campaigns in accordance with campaign finance rules. I had no reason to contact her to ask her to fix her campaign finance forms, because I have no authority to demand of her to fix them.

That is the job of the county General Registrar and that’s why I went to Mrs. Shorter, the General Registrar, with candidate Stone, to talk with her about them instead of Mrs. Harris. That’s how the system works. Someone else filed a complaint against a Bannister candidate for not having the campaign disclosure on their signs and they went to Shorter too. They did not go to the candidate and beg them to fix the signs.

Harris then wrote, “I just ask anyone who reads or hears these negative words about me to not be influenced by them and realize where they are coming from. Not from a person who cares about our community but from a person who wants to win regardless of who he/they destroy in the process.”

I would hope that if Harris does end up winning she does not react to this if someone comes to the Clerk of Court’s office with an issue.

Mr. Scearce and Warren try to publicly intimidate people on occasion at Board of Supervisors meetings (Scearce’s wild confrontation with Joe Cubas last year is one incident that stands out) that say things that they do not want people to know about, or that they simply believe are not on their side, and their behavior over the past few years has made it so there are now more people against them than for them, as they have made the area look like a joke. Voting against them and the people they support is what you actually do if you care about the community and how it is perceived from the outside too. There are a lot of good candidates to vote for in the various county races that will end what locals have come to call the “clown show” and Jarrett Stone is one of them.