After running a multimillion dollar ice company for many years, Tim Baker, 48, is ready for a new challenge in his life and career.
Now, the incoming Franklin County Clerk says he is ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work, he'll just have to wait a few more days.
“I'm excited and nervous all at the same time,” Baker said. "I hope the clerk’s office starts off 2019 like it would any other day.”
Baker added his first order of business on Day One will be to greet the staff and tell them he hopes to continue to build on the rock-solid foundation they and retiring Clerk Debbie Door have laid.
“I’m grateful for everything Debbie has done,” Baker said. “There has been nothing but open doors including letting me shadow her during the general election in November.”
Baker doesn’t plan any major changes when he comes into the office and will keep all of the existing clerk staff in their current roles including the chief deputy.
“If you’re looking for fireworks, I’m not the guy for that,” he said. “Right now, I just have to get my feet wet. I’m only as good as the staff. There is 70-plus years of experience there.”
One new thing county residents will see after the first of the year will be a county clerk Facebook page.
Baker said the page will be used for informational purposes to relay election and other messages directly to the public in a newer and easier to access format.
The county clerk is the chief election authority and responsible for their smooth runnings. Baker will only have to deal with one election in 2019, but understands what is on the horizon and he will have to learn fast.
“If the staff says do it, I’ll do it,” Baker said. “There will be four elections in 2020, so that could get pretty crazy.”
Lessons in Losses
Baker’s primary election win in August sealed his fate for 2018 and guaranteed him a county office on his fourth try.
In 2012, 2014 and 2016, Baker ran for Franklin County First District commissioner twice and presiding commissioner once, all unsuccessfully.
He says the losses only made his determination stronger and feels everything happens for a reason.
“I wish I would have won sooner, but I’ve learned from every election,” Baker said. “If I would have won the first one, I would have never found my way here. This is where I’m supposed to be.”
Baker added he took a different approach this campaign and made it more about talking with people instead of talking to people.
“I shared a lot more about my faith this time around,” he said. “There were a lot of little things, but it certainly felt different.”
Baker will be the first new county clerk in 16 years and only the fifth person to hold the office since 1960.
“It’s an honor to be county clerk,” Baker said. “It means something to me. It means being a servant, not a taker.”
Growing up in, and eventually taking the helm of a family business, Baker understands the concept of not only preserving the foundation, but adding on to a structure.
“Being an elected official is all about serving the constituents and keeping an open mind,” Baker said. “If I mess up, I’ll be the first one to stand up in front and tell you I messed up. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I look forward to a good four years. I hope we see only good things.”