“MY CLERK OF COURT”
A lifelong resident of the Shore, Johnson has served the public through the Clerk’s office for more than 20 years. Serving first as a Deputy Clerk with her mentor, the late Kenneth Arnold, previous Clerk of the Circuit Court, she was then appointed acting Clerk until a special election to fulfill the remaining four years of his term. Johnson is currently serving her twelfth year as Clerk of Court.
In commenting on her intention to seek re-election, Johnson said “The office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court dates from 1619. From those early days until the present, the Clerk’s duties have changed significantly, but the office remains vitally important to the residents of Northampton County”.
The Code of Virginia lists over 800 separate responsibilities for the Clerk, many of which are highly complex and challenging. In addition to creating and maintaining all court files and records, the Clerk also serves as the recorder of deeds and probate judge, issues marriage licenses and is the official court administrator for all civil and criminal court cases.
Circuit Court Clerks in Virginia perform duties that in many states are divided among three or four separate offices. In keeping with tradition, therefore, Virginia has saved its citizens significant tax dollars by combining judicial and administrative functions into a single office. Mrs. Johnson has received various grants from the Library of Virginia (LVA) and the Virginia Foundation for Humanities (VFH), thus saving the taxpayers of Northampton County money that would otherwise come directly from the county budget.
In addition to her duties as Circuit Clerk, Mrs. Johnson is active in civic organizations and is a community leader. Johnson continues to serve on the policy boards for Chesapeake Bay Alcohol and Safety Action Program (CBASAP) and Community Corrections Program since her appointment in 2008 and is a charter member of the Eastern Shore Chapter of the Archaeological Society of Virginia where she digs her way through ancient histories beneath the surface of the soil. Above ground, she enjoys performing weddings, participating in Eastville events, and even dressing in character for such special occasions as Star-Spangled Day, the Powwow at Indiantown Park, and various Northampton Preservation Historical Society (NHPS) ceremonies.
As gatekeeper of the Oldest Continuous Court Records in America, Johnson spends quality time educating children of all ages, including those young at heart, about local history and the fame that sets Northampton County records apart from the rest of Virginia and the nation. She hosts tours for busloads of students and also travels to schools to share history and local government information with the students, often presenting fun facts during appropriate sessions of SOL learnings. Exploring the Oldest Continuous Court Records (compiled by Johnson, Frances Bibbins Latimer and Jean M. Mihalyka) is a collection of Northampton County historical records that Traci uses to tell all who pause to listen about the wonderment of the county she cherishes and represents so endearingly.
With impacting changes in the county caused by shrinking funding and a smaller staff at her side, Johnson continues to receive consecutive exceptional audits from the Auditor of Public Accounts. According to Traci, “The success of my office is because of the hard work and dedication of my knowledgeable deputies who give public service their utmost attention. We work well as a team and we care about the work we do for everyone.”
In addition to documenting and preserving the life event records of families of Northampton County, Traci and Brian, her husband of 21 years, can be found on a baseball field cheering for one or both of their sons. Their eldest son, Cody, attends Virginia Tech and the younger, Seth, attends Northampton County Middle School. The Johnsons live on the bayside in Machipongo.
Mrs. Johnson states, “It is more than public service; it’s accountability. With hope that I have touched each of your lives, I again ask for your vote on Election Day.”