Wyoming County voters will have the choice between two candidates for prothonotary/clerk of courts in the Nov. 5 election.
While newcomer Cindy Zika Newhart beat incumbent Karen Bishop by 398 Republican votes in the May primary, Bishop came out with 165 Democratic write-ins, earning her the Democratic nomination and giving her another chance as a candidate in November.
In 2010, Bishop became acting prothonotary/clerk of courts. In 2011, she was officially elected into the position and is now serving her second 4-year term.
Prior to becoming acting prothonotary, the Wyoming County native held the title of first deputy since 1993.
“I was surprised but very thankful that I won the Democrat write-ins,” said Bishop. “Even though I’m a registered Republican, it will say Democrat after my name, and I’ll be first on the ballot.”
“If the Republicans wish to continue to support me, they would have to check my name and not vote a straight ticket,” she reminded.
Newhart, another lifetime resident of Wyoming County, comes to the campaign with 36 years of experience in administrative law offices, most recently at Ackourey & Turel in Tunkhannock.
“I was very honored that the people of Wyoming County put their faith and trust in me,” Newhart said. “We worked very hard getting our message out to the people and it was clear that our message resonated with the voters.”
Moving forward into November, she hopes to keep the momentum from the primary going.
“We’ve continued to work hard,” she said. “I’ve been running an honest and ethical campaign all the way through and I will continue to do so.”
For Bishop, the prothonotary/clerk of courts requires flexibility and a willingness to go the extra mile, as well as someone who works well with the public and all functions of the county courthouse.
Having worked in the office for 26 years, she said she knows the day-to-day operations inside and out, and she hopes to continue providing services professionally and efficiently if reelected.
“I would just hope people understand that experience is what it takes to run this office and I hope they would put their trust and belief in me, continue to support me and vote for me in the Nov. 5 election,” Bishop said.
Looking to the future of the office, Bishop would not be surprised to see the implementation of more online filing systems through the state, which she views as likely being a positive change.
“They have already been here back a year or so ago to meet with us about online filing on the criminal side, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the next step the state would try to implement in this office,” she said.
While Newhart has not worked in a prothonotary office before, she believes her law office career gives her the necessary experience.
As a paralegal, she has communicated with both efficiently and poorly managed prothonotary/clerk of court offices, giving her insight on how to potentially improve services.
“If someone has no background in law or office management, they may have a hard time stepping into this position,” she said. “I feel my background in law has prepared me to effectively administer the duties of this demanding office.”
Some of Newhart’s goals if elected include improving the efficiency of the office, cross training staff, working with other county offices to strengthen interoffice processes and implementing new technology, such as an electronic filing system that can be purchased with grant funding.
Overall, she pledges to be a “progressive voice” by bringing a new level of professionalism and enthusiasm into the office.
“I appreciate the continued support and look
forward to putting my experience to work for the people of Wyoming County,” she said.