Hamilton annouces re-election bid

Win will secure Hamilton’s third term as Clerk of Circuit Court
Clerk of Circuit Court Brenda Hamilton announces her candidacy Wednesday, Jan. 9 at Jefferson Center, Fralin Atrium. – Photo by S. Hale

Exclusive to The Roanoke Tribune

Before a gathering of over 70 people Wednesday (1/9) at the Jefferson Center, Fralin Atrium, Brenda Hamilton announced plans to seek a third term as Roanoke’s Clerk of Circuit Court.

Hamilton’s life story is one of overcoming obstacles and relying on her own will and determination to succeed. She was born in Prince Edward County, (Farmville) –an area once fraught with intense segregation and legal battles regarding integration of schools during the racial unrest of the 60’s.

Consequently there were no provision made for educating the area’s Black children, many received schooling from relatives in nearby communities or at makeshift schools located in church basements.

Such conditions brought Brenda to Roanoke. At age 7 her family moved her to Roanoke to live with her grandmother while her mother and father remained in Prince Edward County. She continued her education in the Roanoke City School system.

As a person with ethics rooted in dedication and resilience, Hamilton’s story is one of several firsts. She started her career with Roanoke City Police Department. Soon thereafter, she worked for Roanoke City Public Works. In 1976, she was hired in the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office and became the first African American to ever work in that office.

On a leap of faith, she retired early from her position as Deputy Clerk and with a genuine love for the job she decided to pursue her personal dream to become Clerk of Circuit Court.

Brenda’s resilience paid off in 2004 as she became the first African American woman elected Clerk of Circuit Court and first African American elected to a constitutional office in the City.

Unopposed, she was re-elected in 2011 and now at 65-years-old, seeks to secure her third term.

Vice Mayor, Joe Cobb, with a litany of praise, spoke about the tremendous work Hamilton and her staff have put into advancing the technology of the office. Cobb thanked Hamilton for her “leadership, absolute best customer service and for the work of her office.”

Mayor Sherman Lea, Councilwoman Anita Price and Sheriff Tim Allen were also among the elected city officials there to show support.

During her speech, Hamilton spoke about the technological advancements that have come about during her tenure citing examples as: video conferencing systems in courtrooms, instant access to video and audio court records, hearing assisted devices, a shift from paper to digital filings and a new online payment system.

Additionally, all land, probate and marriage records are currently available electronically dating back to 1884 she pointed out. As of 2017, Hamilton said her office is completely free of paper files.

“These changes, along with many others, are all efforts to be more efficient while saving taxpayer’s money and time,” Hamilton emphasized.

“No matter how many upgrades are made or how much technology changes, the personal feel of my office will remain the same. Customer service is and will always be top priority in my administration,” Hamilton said.

As part of her duties, when first appointed, Hamilton performed weddings throughout the state. She has officiated over 4,200 weddings to date, bringing in $250,000 in additional revenue to the city alone. The ability to perform weddings is one that no other Roanoke Clerk of Court has ever been charged with.

As an elected constitutional officer, Hamilton is directly accountable to the citizens. Her office provides a vast array of valuable services and performs administrative duties in the criminal and civil judicial systems.

Mayor Sherman Lea closed the event by sharing his appreciation for “Hamilton’s support and leadership in the community over the years.” The election will be held November 5. Should she face a challenger, a primary election will be held June 11th