Janet Adkins believes her education and experience in both the public and private sectors makes her the best choice for Nassau County’s next supervisor of elections.
“I have a strong history, a proven track record of serving the citizens of Nassau County and doing what is truly in their best interest, of hearing their voice and representing their voice,” Adkins said recently.
Adkins served 10 years on the Nassau County School Board and eight years in the Florida House of Representatives. She also has a bachelor’s degree in history and information science from the University of North Florida and Master of Business Administration. She worked in information technology and software development while in college, and is now helping to run a family business.
“I believe that is what makes me the most qualified candidate, along with my IT background.”
While a technology background could be important for the office she’s pursuing, Adkins’ believes her political experience and connections could help get state and federal money for Nassau County.
“Already the governor has cut $1 billion from the state budget,” she said. “Having someone in this important leadership position that understands Tallahassee, that understands the appropriation process, I believe, is critically important to Nassau County. I’ve served on the appropriations committee. I know two-thirds of the Senate because I have served with them in the House, and I know my way around the Capitol. We need to make sure that Nassau County is getting our fair share when Tallahassee is appropriating federal dollars and I believe I’m best positioned to work towards that.”
For the last four years, Adkins has been chief administrative officer for her family’s businesses, Dayspring Village and Dayspring Senior Living. She said she’s had to wear a lot of hats in that position and can apply that experience to the Supervisor of Elections Office.
“I have done everything from budgeting to accounting to implementing software programs to preparing training programs to policy development to regulatory compliance, supervisory roles – basically leading,” she said. “The budget there is larger than the SOE budget. The number of employees is larger than the SOE office. I am very comfortable not only with my educational background but with the additional training that I’ve had that I can go in, conduct an analysis, do engaging process improvement.”
Adkins also believes her current business experience would help her deal with the current issues facing the Supervisor of Elections during the coronavirus pandemic.
“With the new normal we have with COVID-19, we will be challenged like never before,” Adkins said. “We will be challenged to do more with less, come up with new procedures to address safety, dealing with infection control and how to get voters in and out of the voting locations safely. I can’t tell you how many hours I have spent developing infection control policies, studying the CDC website, on conference calls with the health department. I feel like I am well versed in protocols that need to be in place.”
In addition to keeping voters safe, Adkins believes it is the duty of the supervisor of elections to instill confidence in voters that the election process is safe and secure.
“With COVID-19, I believe we are going to see an increase in the amount of vote-by-mail ballots,” she said. “It’s important that voters feel that is a safe and secure method of voting.
“It’s equally important that voters feel safe and secure and that we have accessible early voting sites. I believe we will also see a rise in early voting. Regardless of the voter’s preference, whether it’s vote by mail, early voting or Election Day, it’s important the polls are easily accessible.”
Adkins says communication with voters is important and wants to utilize a texting system similar to the one the Nassau County Emergency Management uses to notify residents of weather alerts in order to keep residents aware of election deadlines and poll hours. She would also take advantage of the recently approved Electronic Information Registration (ERIC) system, which uses data from the state’s Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles and the Social Security Administration to identify people who are, and who are not, eligible to vote.
Communication with those involved on Election Day – poll workers and voters – is crucial to improving the election process, Adkins says, and she would, if elected, ask them about their experiences in order to determine how she as supervisor of elections could improve that process.
Adkins believes leadership is also important in the job of Supervisor of Elections.
“This position is not a high-profile position, but it’s a very important position. Honestly, I really felt like voters needed to have a real choice when they went to cast their ballot … someone who has both the experience of the private sector and public service,” she said. “When you look at what the office really means, it is a position of public office. It is more than being able to run tabulating equipment. It is about leadership. It is about the public trust. It is about ensuring that the public has confidence in the election process. I believe it is important that we have a supervisor that has a strong ability to communicate, the willingness to listen, and has a proven track record of doing so. That’s why I’m running.”