Orange County native Sara Stephens says she will bring fresh and innovative ideas to the Orange County Register of Deeds position if she is elected.

“What I want to do is simplify the process in which a lot of transactions are handled in the office,” Stephens says.

The democratic primary on May 6 is shaping up to be a highly competitive race with incumbent Deborah Brooks of Hillsborough and former Mayor of Carrboro Mark Chilton running as well.

“This might be one of the most highly contested races Orange County has seen, which is—it is exciting! I am not intimidated at all. It is exciting. This is part of the democratic process, and I am excited to participate.”

Stephens, 32, who lives in Durham and currently works in the health care industry, says her experience serving as Orange County Deputy Register of Deeds from 2007-2012 has prepared her for the seat.

During her time in the office of the Register of Deeds, she says she acquired and managed more than $500,000 in receipts. She provided information to residents about statutory and public compliance concerning death certificates, marriage licenses, birth certificates and deeds.

“I know the ins and outs of the office. I also have formed lots of relationships with paralegals and attorneys who have given me some insights as to how we can update and modernize the way that title searches are done,” Stephens said.

If elected as Register of Deeds, Stephens would have authority to issue marriage licenses. When asked by if she would challenge the state’s current prohibitive stance on gay marriage, she offered this: “As Register, I feel it would be my responsibility to take actions within my power to ensure that our office is a friendly and welcoming place to all people.”

Stephens received her undergraduate degree in Communication from Peace College and her Masters of Library Science from North Carolina Central University. She is also a certified Public Librarian in North Carolina.

Her mother, Brenda Stephens, is seeking her fifth term on the Orange County Schools Board of Education.