07/18/04 — Democrats have two choices for registrar

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Democrats have two choices for registrar

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on July 18, 2004 2:16 AM

The only Wayne County race on Tuesday's ballot matches two first-time candidates.

John Chance, appointed last year as Wayne County's register of deeds, hopes to remain in the office, but Lois J. Mooring, a deputy clerk in the Clerk of Court's office, is challenging him.

The Democratic nominee will face Republican Chris West in November. West is also making his first try for office.

The deeds office preserves thousands of official documents, licenses and certificates, not exactly the most exciting of jobs.

But interest was stirred in the office last November when the registrar then, Debbie Lane, retired after 30 years of working in the office.

Both the NAACP and some Republicans expressed outrage that the Democrat-ic Party chose Chance, an outsider, as her successor over Dorothy Blackman, a black woman who had been Mrs. Lane's top assistant for 15 years. West announced then that he would file this year and challenge Chance.

Democrats had said that Mrs. Blackman was nearing the time when she could retire and they wanted a replacement who would run to keep the office in Democratic hands.

Eight months later, things have settled down, Chance says. Mrs. Blackman remains as the top assistant and everyone is working well together. "Our staff brings a combined 111 years of experience to the office," he said.

"I have enjoyed serving the people of our county as register of deeds and I want to continue in the job," Chance said. "I have found the job to be challenging and rewarding."

The office is continuing to modernize, including greater use of its Web site. Soon, the deed information from 1969 to the present will be available on line.

As for Mrs. Mooring, she maintains that she filed for other reasons than the controversy.

Running the deeds office would be similar to the work she has done in her 12 years in the Wayne County Clerk of Courts' office, she said. She also worked 20 years as a legal secretary.

"I see this as an extension of what I'm doing now -- helping the public," she said.

Mrs. Mooring believes one of her great strengths is being a problem-solver. "They don't call me Lois Lane for nothing," she said.

The register of deeds is responsible for recording and maintaining many real estate documents and making them available to the public. The office also issues marriage licenses, notary oaths, and birth, death and marriage certificates. It maintains records of armed forces discharges.