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Kelly Christopher Assumes New Duties as Recorder of Deeds

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

CAPTION: Kelly Christopher, longtime Livingston County Clerk, will assume her new duties as Livingston County Recorder of Deeds on January 1, 2011.

C-T Photo/Amanda McKay

When we return to our jobs following the holiday season, for most of us it will be business as usual; but for one lifelong Livingston Countian it will be a new job signifying a new challenge and the end of an era. On Jan. 1, 2011, longtime Livingston County Clerk Kelly Christopher will assume her new duties as Livingston County Recorder of Deeds. The salary is exactly the same and the change in titles is minimal. Even the distance of the move is insignificant - forty feet across the second floor lobby of the Livingston County courthouse. To move a few boxes from one office to the other will require only a few moments but the move from Kelly's perspective is immeasurable.

Over 60 percent of her entire life and all of her adult life has been spent working in the county clerk's office.
She began her career in 1984 as an 18 year old deputy clerk under then county clerk Madeline Hawkins. Six years later, upon the retirement of Hawkins, Christopher bested a field of five candidates to be elected county clerk and the rest is history. Kelly was re-elected to the position every four years over a period of 20 years.

Early in 2010, County Recorder Gordon Smith announced his retirement and Christopher expressed her intention to seek the Recorder's position. She was elected in November without opposition.

Throughout 26 years in the clerk's office, Kelly witnessed many changes. "Everything used to be done by hand entries or typewriters. It was time consuming and we spent hours rechecking and recalculating. Computers were just becoming popular when I started working in the office and upgrading our technology just made sense." By virtue of their position, county clerks are the top election officials of the county. As technology advanced, Christopher was quick to implement faster, more efficient methods of voting. She gained a reputation as one of Missouri's premier election authorities. In 2003, Kelly was named to Missouri's Committee on Election Reform. The committee was formed by Secretary of State, Matt Blunt to oversee the implementation of the Federal Help America Vote Act. She was also selected by Secretarys of State Matt Blunt and Robin Carnahan to serve on Missouri's Central Voter Registration Database Committees.

Her expertise in elections soon earned her statewide recognition and in 2008, Christopher became the youngest clerk ever elected President of the Missouri County Clerks and Election Authorities Association.
Kelly also chaired the Missouri County Clerks Scholarship Committee and served as a board member of the Missouri Association of Counties.

Despite her clerk's duties and statewide activities, Kelly managed to stay involved with her family and the Chillicothe community. She served as secretary to the Livingston County Planning and Zoning Commission, President of the Livingston County Women's Democratic Club and Jerry Litton Scholarship Committee. She also is a member of the Chillicothe Main Street Organization Committee, Chillicothe TIF Commission and served as Calvary Baptist Church Sunday School Teacher for over ten years.

Christopher expressed, "I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in the county clerk's office; the past 26 years have gone by so fast it almost seems like a whirlwind. I am truly thankful to those people with whom I have worked over the past years, and I greatly appreciate the opportunity to take on the unique duties of the recorder's office. As any officeholder should, I will be seeking ways to improve upon and streamline the office."

Kelly's three children, Ashton, Brent, and Kaley, all graduated from Chillicothe High School where they participated in numerous activities - mom always at their side. Ashton, a corrections classification assistant at the Chillicothe Correctional Center, and his wife Tammie, reside in Chillicothe with their children Kayla, Tyler, and Haley Lewis and Braden Christopher; Brent, a corrections officer with the Missouri Department of Corrections, resides in St. Joseph, Missouri; and, Kaley, an employee with the Livingston County Collector-Treasurer's Office, her husband, Wade Laffey, and their son, Keagan, reside in Chillicothe.

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Livingston County Courthouse
700 Webster Street
Chillicothe, MO 64601

660-646-8000