Three Democratic candidates on the primary ballot.
The Macon County News is presenting candidate profiles on all primary candidates between now and the May 6 primary. Following the results of the primary, MCN will then profile candidates vying for seats in November.
The Macon County Register of Deeds is an office in which voters will choose which candidate will move on to the general election in November. The winner of the May primary will face Republican challenger Jamie Cochran in the November general election.
Incumbent Register of Deeds Todd Raby has filed for re-election to the position he has held since 2006, and this year will face Democratic challengers Kenneth Blane and Nicole (Nicki) Tallent.
All candidates were asked the same questions for their candidate profiles.
Please give your bio including personal, professional, educational and political.
Nicole Tallent: A sixth generation native of Macon County, Tallent graduated from Franklin High School in 1993. After graduating, Tallent then attended Southwestern Community College to pursue a career in the medical field. She is currently employed as a supervisor at a local pediatric office where she has worked for 13 years. She and her husband Chuck Tallent have been married for 20 years and have three sons, Jordan, Logan, and Corban. Tallent and her family are members of the Grace Baptist Church.
Todd Raby: Raby was born and raised in Macon County and grew up in the Cowee Community. Raby’s father was the late Coach Tom Raby, and his mother is Joyce Cabe Raby. Raby is a lifelong member of Cowee Baptist Church. When graduating from Franklin High School in 1987, Raby received the citizenship award. Raby attended SCC where he studied Business Administration. He has worked in retail at the Franklin Wal-Mart and worked at the Industrial Plant Work for Caterpillar Precision Seals. Raby became interested in politics in the late ’90s. Raby is a registered Democrat and was the Democratic chair for the Cowee Precinct from 2003-2006. He was first elected to the Register of Deeds Office in 2006. As a single dad, Raby enjoys spending his time with his three-year-old son, James Thomas Raby III.
Kenneth Blaine: A native of Macon County, Blaine graduated from Franklin High School in 1980. Shortly after high school, Blaine joined the military and is a veteran having served for three years. Blaine took two years of business courses and studied Gunology for two years. He owned and operated his own gun shop in Macon County for nine years. Blaine also worked for Penland Contracting for 24 years. Blaine currently resides in the West Franklin area of Macon County.
Why do you want to be Register of Deeds?
Tallent: “I want to serve the citizens of Macon County,” she said. “I enjoy making a difference in people's lives. I am confident with my leadership skills, personality, eagerness and willingness to learn ... I am the woman for the job!”
Raby: “I want to continue to be the Register of Deeds because I love my job, I like working with the public and helping people, I like to meet new people and hear their stories, this is where you learn something new every day,” said Raby. “I feel honored to be in charge of the office that holds the history of Macon County, the real estate records, the vital records which are the marriage, birth and death records, what a great responsibility. There is more to the Register of Deeds than meets the eye and it is not to be taken lightly. I also have a vested interest. I feel humbly that I, with the help of my staff, who have gone above and beyond what is required of their jobs by statute, have brought the Deeds Office into the 21st century, with the land records being online with the turnaround time for the scanning and indexing process being just 24 hours instead of several days, with the office being more open and streamlined for the local professionals as well as the general public. I want to continue to bring quality service to the county and implement any new technology and or software or tools necessary to continue to make the office more user friendly and make the visit to the office a very pleasant experience. I think we have achieved that because we do get a lot of compliments on how well the office is run and how courteous we have been to them compared to other Registers of Deeds Offices, and I am proud of that.”
Blaine: “Growing up around the old courthouse, the Register of Deeds office has been my passion for a long time,” said Blaine. “I want to be able to run the office efficiently and fair for the people of Macon County.”
What do you think is praiseworthy for the current office of Register of Deeds?
Tallent: “I think the people Mr. Todd Raby have employed are the backbone of his office. They do a wonderful job and have a great wealth of knowledge.”
Raby: “I am not really praising myself here, but I will say that if I feel that I have done a good job, I have tried to maintain the office within its means, I have the experience needed to run the office, and I have always tried to make myself available to the public in the office, even at home I have had people call me and ask questions, in the grocery store etc. When that happens you help them. That is part of the job,” said Raby. “With the exceptions of just what happens in life to us all, the things we have no control over, I am always here, I try to do my job. Being an elected official means you have a job 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The taxpayers elect you and pay your salary to be available to them, and I feel that I have done that.”
Blaine: “I think the current office is doing a pretty good job,” said Blaine. “I don’t have any complaints there.”
What is something you think can be improved on?
Tallent: “To ensure that all staff are well educated on the ever changing laws within the office, and giving them the opportunity to attend classes and seminars,” said Tallent. “I would also like to see a credit/debit card system put into place. I can bring a positive and upbeat personality into this position.”
Raby: “There is no perfect job and no perfect person but we do strive every day to improve how we do business with the public and local professionals, and like I have stated before I will do everything possible to make the Register of Deeds Office more efficient, user friendly and serve the citizens with the best quality of public service in Macon County,” he said.
Blaine: “I think it is important to ensure that the citizens of Macon County are receiving accurate reporting of all the records,” he said. “I want to focus on backing up the records frequently in case of a disaster. I also want to make sure that the Register of Deeds office is courteous and polite to everyone in the county.”
What do you hope to accomplish during your term?
Tallent: “I am a team player. When I am elected I won't be hiding in my office, I will be out helping and encouraging my employees,” she said. “I think this builds a positive work environment. I will provide the most accurate records possible and treat each customer and employee with the dignity, respect, courtesy and professionalism they deserve.”
Raby: “If re-elected I will be serving my third term as Register of Deeds, and I feel I have accomplished a lot in seven and half years,” said Raby. “This term I intend to make it possible to accept credit and debit cards in the office which we are in the process of doing now. This will expand the payment methods for customers to use. I also am looking into a recording fraud alert, that will help detect fraudulent documents that could be recorded in the office and protect the public from recording scams, I also hope to just keep improving what we do, try to maintain yearly budgets that are not far above what is needed to operate the office. And keep on doing what is right in the office for the citizens of Macon County.”
Blaine: “If I am elected I would focus on accurate and fair reporting of all the documents and make sure there is a system in place to keep copies of everything so it is easy to access in the future,” he said.
What do you see as being your greatest challenge?
Tallent: “I feel my greatest challenge is to spend every opportunity I have to get the word out that I'm running for Register of Deeds, and to pledge my commitment to public service for the citizens I will be serving,” she said.
Raby: “I think my greatest challenge is the economy, it determines the revenue we bring in and the budget,” he said. “Of course this year my biggest challenge is the Primary and General Elections. I feel that the citizens of Macon County are happy with what the Register of Deeds Office is doing now and will be with what I can bring to it in the future, So with that I am asking all of you in Macon County to stand with me once again and help me move the Register of Deeds forward for Macon County.”
Blaine: “Well, to be honest, I don’t really think I will have a challenge,” he said. “Being a business owner for nine years, I kept all of my own records, and had to abide by federal and state guidelines. I think that would really benefit me if elected.”
Is there any additional comments you would like to make?
Tallent: “My ethics are simple, I stand on honesty and integrity. I will always have an open door policy.”
Raby: “I want to say it has been an honor to serve as Register of Deeds of Macon County for the last seven and a half years, now that this 2014 Election season starts I face a Democratic Primary in May and a General Election in November,” said Raby. “So I am asking you the voters of Macon County to remember Re-Elect Todd Raby for Register of Deeds. Do not take for granted that someone will just win the election, every vote will count. Let's have big numbers on an off year primary.”
Blaine: “I am not running against Mr. Raby or any other candidate,” he said. “I am simply running for the position in office.”