Webster County Clerk Valerie Newell is now in uncharted waters, at least as far as her predecessors are concerned.

Newell, who was elected in November of 2002, began her fifth consecutive term in office on January 1, 2019, making her the first clerk in county history to serve longer than four consecutive terms.

During her tenure in office, Newell has worked alongside only two Judge Executives: Jim Townsend, Democrat, who was in office from 1992 through 2016; and republican Steve Henry, who took office in 2016 following Townsend’s retirement.

“Since being appointed and through the elections, I have witnessed Valerie’s dedication to that office,” said Henry. “No one puts more work into detail, organization and fairness as Valerie, especially with elections.”

In Kentucky, the position of County Clerk was created by the state constitution of 1850. The clerk is tasked with handling the clerical duties of the fiscal court; registering, licensing and taxing all motor vehicles and boats within the county; imposes the state alcoholic beverage license fee; overseeing, maintaining and managing all elections, voter rolls and voting equipment; issuing marriage licences;

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and preparing and issuing all county tax bills.

“I sincerely admire her integrity and professionalism,” Henry added.

By officially starting her fifth term, Newell surpasses Jo Nell Blackburn, who retired in 1993. Blackburn was the first clerk in Webster County history to achieve four consecutive terms in office, retiring without seeking a fifth.

“Even though Valerie has held that office for several years, she remains young when it comes to office holders,” said Henry. “She still sets an example for today’s youth to be involved in their communities, especially young women.”

Reach Matt Hughes at 270-667-2068 or