Q&A with Jessica Bradshaw, Jackson County Circuit Clerk candidate

By Amber Koteras, Staff Reporter

City council member Jessica Bradshaw is running to be the first Green Party circuit clerk in Jackson County. 

Although Bradshaw is not a Carbondale native, she has lived in the city since she was in junior high. She has also been employed as a civil service employee at SIU for the last 12 years and has served on Carbondale’s city council for almost two full terms. 

The Daily Egyptian spoke with Bradshaw about her campaign.

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Daily Egyptian: What made you decide to run for circuit clerk?

Bradshaw said she decided to run upon hearing that incumbent Cindy Svanda (Democrat) was running unopposed. 

“I didn’t really know what the circuit clerk did at first. It was one of those administrative county jobs that you know you don’t really think about that much. Especially on a presidential election year, you just don’t think about the down ballot votes,” Bradshaw said.

Bradshaw said after researching the office, she felt the position suited her experience and her education; she is working toward her masters in public administration at SIU. 

Daily Egyptian: In your current position, what do you feel you are contributing to the city?

“It’s really interesting because, unlike a lot of political offices, city council is really kind of a group effort. I’m really happy that it’s a nonpartisan position and rank because […] we’re all sort of working as a team to better Carbondale,” Bradshaw said.

Daily Egyptian: If you win this election, what do you hope to contribute to the city and county?

“I hope to bring my ideas and my perspectives to the county at large. It’s a full-time job, the circuit clerk, so I’m really looking forward to that challenge. Right now I don’t feel like the people are being represented by someone full time,” Bradshaw said.

She said because Svanda has been in office since 1996, there is a need for fresh perspectives and new ideas.

Daily Egyptian: What would winning this election look like for your party?

“That’s the weird thing with circuit clerk and some of these other county offices — they are so administrative. Similar to city council, it’s, like, how does partisan politics even play into running judges’ dockets day to day,” Bradshaw said.

Bradshaw said it would be exciting to be the first member of the Green Party elected to office in Jackson County. She mentioned that her father, who is also a member of the Green Party, was running for a position on the county board. 

Daily Egyptian: What changes and challenges are you facing or expecting to face due to the pandemic? 

Bradshaw said in some ways, campaigning during the pandemic has been no different; there is still social media, yard signs, advertisements and interviews to navigate. The main difference is that there are no big events to attend. She also said the office is one where there’s no polling data.

“You don’t know what kind of impact you’re making until election day,” Bradshaw said.

“The incumbent has done a pretty good job of putting things online. Court can happen online now, not just here but everywhere,” Bradshaw said.

Daily Egyptian: What do your long-term goals in the position look like?

“I am really excited by this potential opportunity. If the people of Jackson County want to elect me, and in four years decide that I’m still doing a good job and want to elect me again, that would be great,” Bradshaw said.

She said that although she doesn’t plan on serving as many years as the incumbent, things can rapidly change in this era. 

Daily Egyptian: Why should someone vote for you?

“I really just think it’s the perfect mix of my daily office administration experience that I’ve gotten at SIU, as well as what I’ve gotten in my MPA studies at SIU, and then also what I’ve learned at city council,” Bradshaw said. “I think that the people deserve a full time dedicated public servant in that office, not just politically, but also literally in the office day to day.”

Staff reporter Amber Koteras can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @AmberKoteras

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