Women have long held positions of power in local government, but on Nov. 5, Culpeper County voters elected its first female treasurer.
Culpeper native Missy Norris White considers it quite an honor to have won election to the constitutional office that is primarily responsible for collecting taxes.
“I am very excited about this opportunity to serve the citizens of Culpeper,” she said, adding, “I am committed to being an active and energetic public servant and am very much looking forward to working alongside the staff at the Treasurer’s Office to continue providing excellent customer service and maintain their outstanding collection rate.”
A 1990 graduate of Culpeper County High School, White has worked the past 13 years as chief administrative & financial officer for the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office. Before that, she worked a decade as an accountant at Culpeper Wood Preservers.
White was class treasurer at CCHS and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with a concentration in accounting, from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg. She beat three other candidates, earning nearly 47 percent of the vote, to become Culpeper County’s next elected treasurer. White was the local Republican Party nominee.
She is looking forward to getting to work in the Main Street office in 2020 while striving to improve its functions and employee training.
“I would like to see all of the staff, including myself, obtain certification through the Virginia Treasurer’s Association and seek office accreditation in the future,” White said. “I plan to launch an educational campaign for Culpeper citizens to learn how they can make periodic payments towards their tax bills throughout the year to lessen the blow in December when the bills come due.”
The Culpeper County treasurer’s position dates to 1878 when P.E. Jones was in office, according to current Treasurer David DeJarnette, first elected in 2005.
S. Russell Smith served from 1881 to 1911 and then again from 1920 to 1930 – he had to take a break in between during a time of 10-year term limits. E.L. Slaughter, G.W. Mitchell, Bud Glass and Steve Southard round out the history of Culpeper County treasurers.
A new page will be written as White assumes the post in the New Year, making her the eighth in Culpeper history, DeJarnette said.
“Although Missy will be the first female treasurer, female leadership is nothing new in Culpeper government or local county government in Virginia since the 1970s and 80s,” he said.
Culpeper County Commissioner of the Revenue Terry Yowell agreed, saying that history goes back even further and beyond Culpeper. She ran unopposed in the recent election.
“Of 127 elected Commissioners of the Revenue throughout the Commonwealth, 84 are female Commissioners. Our most Senior Commissioner, Denise Smith of Charles City County, was elected in 1979 at the age of 22,” Yowell said of female leaders around Virginia.
Mary Davies served as Culpeper County Commissioner of the Revenue 1945-1951 and Dorothy Shaeffer from 1982 to 1987. Yowell has been in office since 2001.
“I think you will find a long history of female leadership also in the Clerk’s office,” she said.