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Yockel takes Democratic primary for Ontario County clerk

That there will be a contested race in November for Ontario County clerk was a given heading into the Democratic Party primary.

County residents now know who the two candidates will be.

Elizabeth "Liz" Yockel received 1,646 votes to Heidi Barend-Guerrie's 1,147 votes in the Democratic Party primary Tuesday, according to unofficial results from the Ontario County Board of Elections.

Yockel, of Richmond, is program director for the Rochester Folk Art Guild and owns the Fuzzy Bunny in Honeoye.

In addition to having served on the Richmond Town Board, Yockel also served on the town's Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee, the Parks and Recreation Committee, and the Honeoye Economic Development Task Force.

In a statement, Yockel thanked the many volunteers who tirelessly worked to support her campaign and the voters who came out for this historic primary, which is testament to a resurgence of the Democratic Party in Ontario County.

"I am grateful to my fellow candidate, Heidi, for her long-standing dedication to customer service," Yockel said. "We now need to come together on common-ground issues like creating broad accessibility to services and rebuilding trust in the office. I look forward to bringing change to the clerk's office to better serve the residents of Ontario County."

Barend-Guerrie, of Manchester, opened Fluffy’s Quilt Patch Plus in Canandaigua after she retired a year ago from the clerk’s office, where she worked since 1997. She was deputy clerk for 11 years.

In a statement, Barend-Guerrie said this was a great race and thanked all who voted for her and offered a special thank-you to all the people who supported her in this campaign.

"Those that put up my signs, passed petitions, made phone calls, and basically kept me on a good path forward," Barend-Guerrie said. "This is not a concession speech because what I gained far outweighs the race, friendships. I am blessed."

Yockel will run with the Democratic Party’s designation in November against Canandaigua Town Clerk Jean Chrisman, who has the endorsement of the Republican and Conservative parties. The position carries a four-year term.

Chrisman has served as Canandaigua town clerk for 10 years.

Chrisman has more than 25 years of experience in local government with the town of Canandaigua, including serving as the town’s zoning officer for 16 years before becoming town clerk.

Chrisman is president of the Ontario County Tax Collectors Association and treasurer of the Ontario County Town Clerks Association.

Yockel said there is a lot more work to do.

"We’ve gotten a good start here and we’re looking forward to working on issues that really impact us all," Yockel said.

The county clerk position carries the responsibility for custodial care of the official civil and criminal records of state Supreme Court and Ontario County Court, which are on file in the Canandaigua office.

The county clerk, who is the chief recording officer and custodian of the county’s public land records, also serves as the local agent for the state commissioner of motor vehicles.

Former Ontario County Clerk Matthew Hoose had served for 11 years in the role.

But earlier this year, Hoose died unexpectedly after the county Board of Supervisors approved a vote of no confidence in him, citing delays in required payments and providing reports to various state agencies and what supervisors said was a lack of communication in addressing their concerns with these alleged issues.

Hoose’s term would have expired at the end of the year.

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