Two in-house candidates want to lead Summit County Clerk and Recorder’s Office
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Kathleen Neel‘s name.
As the term limits near for Summit County Clerk and Recorder Kathleen Neel, two candidates from her office hope to be her successor. Chief Deputy Clerk and Recorder Stacey Nell and deputy clerk Kay Robinson have put their names on the November ballot.
Nell is running as the Democratic candidate while Robinson is running unaffiliated. Both promise to operate their roles impartially with and with respect for the community, but each come with different wells of knowledge and experience.
Nell says she would bring experience, years of relationships to role
Nell has been the second in command in the clerk’s office since 2017. Her career in Summit County has spanned roles ranging from the town of Frisco to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office to the Clerk and Recorder’s Office.
“I think that translated perfectly into the Clerk and Recorder’s Office, because we are where local government — that need for organization, data management records — intersects with that public facing aspect of it, which is, you know, life’s important moments,” she said.
Parents coming in with their first child, young adults registering their first car, someone who is voting for the first time and people receiving their marriage certificate — all come through the Clerk and Recorder’s Office, she said. It’s those moments, she said, that are “a privilege and an honor and, and what motivates me certainly to continue my service as clerk and recorder.”
Respecting community members who come through the doors of the Clerk and Recorder’s Office, handling things efficiently and accurately, and working closely with other counties and organizations are key to the clerk’s role, she said. When the East Troublesome Fire threatened Grand County’s 2020 election, Nell said the Summit County Clerk and Recorder’s Office made preparations in case Grand County needed to send their election materials away from the blaze. Nell said she’s maintained such relationships throughout her career and they’re a two-way street.
“I can pick up the phone and call any of them and say, ‘Look, I need some help,’ and they’d be there for us,” she said. “I think that’s something that I can uniquely bring to the table.”
Her career with the Clerk and Recorder’s office started in 2014 as a deputy recording clerk. In March 2016 she transitioned to records clerk for the sheriff’s office for nine months before she said Kathleen Neel called her back to the Clerk and Recorder’s Office to work as the Chief Deputy Clerk and Recorder. In 2021, Nell received her paralegal associates degree from Colorado Mountain College.
Nell moved to the county in 2010 to work for the town of Frisco at the Visitor’s Information Center. Just before moving to Summit County, and before her career in public service began, Nell worked in beverage sales in Michigan.
“When I landed in public service, it just gelled,” she said. “It just makes sense to me.”
Robinson wants to be an outgoing leader for the Clerk and Recorder’s Office
Robinson wants to bring her outgoing personality and community-first mindset to the role of Summit County Clerk and Recorder. Robinson is running as an unaffiliated candidate after gathering more than 400 signatures.
Robinson has worked for the Clerk and Recorder’s office for the last eight years and has been a Summit County resident for the last 33. In her time she said she’s supervised elections in Silverthorne, handled marriage and birth certificates and all things motor vehicles, and always strived to bring an outgoing complement to her role.
“Community is what fuels that position,” she said, talking about the county clerk and recorder. Without the community she says there would be no clerk and recorder — no marriage or birth certificates to deliver.
Robinson said she’s worked closely with current Clerk and Recorder Kathleen Neel and made the decision to run five years ago. She waited for Neel’s term limits to come around before embarking on her campaign. In that time she said she soaked up all the information she could.
The ability to bring people together — a trait, like many, Robinson thinks she garnered from 10 years with the Girl Scouts — makes her ideal for the position. Helping community members is one key to the position, as is integrity and being a resource for the community.
Just setting people up for success when it comes to the clerk and recorder was a key aspect, she said. Removing the uncertainties and time-consuming confusion some associate with government filings.
Robinson came to Summit County from San Diego more than three decades ago for an internship at Abundant Life Church in Silverthorne. Over the years she’s held several positions before landing her current position of deputy clerk. Her family and her appreciate the outdoors — paddleboarding, four-wheeling and even paintball at one point.
“But I’ve retired from paintball,” she said. “My skin’s too thin.”
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