MARIANNA, Fla. (WMBB) — After 32 years of serving Jackson County, Sylvia Stephens is retiring from her position as Supervisor of Elections. With her final election right around the corner, she’s reflecting on her decades of public service.
Stephens was voted into office back in 1988 and has been supervising elections in Jackson County ever since.
“So it’s bitter-sweet,” Stephens said. “You know cause I loved what I have done over these 32 years. I love the office work, I love the people and the voters.”
Stephens said she ran back in 1988 because her husband encouraged her to run when the Supervisor of Elections at the time retired in the middle of their term. “He comes home and he said ‘Why don’t you run?’ and I said nobody knows me, they’re not gonna vote for me,” Stephens said.
Stephens said she worked hard to make sure she got her name out there in that first election.
“I think in my county I started the standing on the corner with your sign waving I started that back in ’88 and ever since then every candidate that because you’ve got to get your name out there,” Stephens said.
Since she’s been in office, Stephens said the 2000 election was her most memorable election. She said lawyers came in from across the country and they were dealing with the recount in March the next year.
Stephens said she has loved getting to make new friends and attend events in Jackson County during her time in office but said she’s ready to retire.
“It has been a joy and my pleasure and to be able to represent Jackson County as their Supervisor of Elections,” Stephens said.
Stephens said when she woke up this morning she was ready for early voting and was happy to see the number of people who came out to vote. She said she wants to stay active in her retirement and plans on spending time with her grandchildren, cousins and in her garden.