A Bacone College administrator challenging the incumbent in the Muskogee County court clerk’s contest cited staff training, technology upgrades and separation of duties as his top priorities.
Eugene Blankenship, who previously served the county as emergency management director, said all those are necessary to avoid future financial losses from the office.
A former employee of the office embezzled nearly $600,000 during the course of 11 months before the scheme was exposed in 2008. Muskogee County Court Clerk Paula Sexton was in charge at the time, and Blankenship has used that fact as the basis of his entire campaign.
“The public’s money, along with the trust taxpayers place in any elected official, should be at the forefront of the official’s mind,” Blankenship said. “Their office should be operated in a streamlined, efficient manner.”
To address those concerns, Blankenship said he would do more to supervise staffers and provide more development and training. He said he would network with other court clerks to find new ways to “achieve efficiency.”
“I will also work with court officials to streamline and provide assistance for the judicial calendar so it moves forward in a timely, efficient manner,” Blankenship said.
Blankenship said he believes he is the best candidate for the court clerk’s position.
“Public service is not about me, but it is the basic fabric that guarantees the ideals created by our forefathers,” Blankenship said. “My professional record of producing results in a timely, productive manner, coupled with my education, honest work ethic and commitment to serve the public, makes me the best choice.”
Blankenship and Sexton will square off Tuesday during the Democratic primary election. Because no Republicans filed, the winner of that contest will serve as court clerk in Muskogee County for the next four years.
Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901 or email@example.com.
Meet Eugene Blankenship
OFFICE SOUGHT: Muskogee County District Court Clerk.
FAMILY: Wife, Kim, daughter Addyson, 7, and son Zak, 17.
OCCUPATION: Assistant vice president of Bacone College.
EDUCATION: Degrees from Carl Albert State College and Bacone College, presently pursuing a criminal justice degree at Bacone College.
RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: New Community Church in Muskogee.
HOBBIES: Fishing, hunting, basketball, rodeo and spending time with family.
• Today — Early voting, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• Saturday — Early voting, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Monday — Early voting, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• June 26 — Primary election.
• Aug. 28 — Runoff primary election.
• Nov. 6 — General election.