New City of Emporia General Registrar Ashley K. Wall being sworn in by Clerk of the Circuit Court Bobby Wrenn. Shown with Miss Wall are Norris Dickerson, Secretary of the Emporia Electoral Board; Antoine Claiborne, Father; Veronica Atcherson, Mother; Antonio Atcherson, Brother; Dr. Wynne Legrow, Vice Chairman or the Emporia Electoral Board. Not present was Mr. Robert Grizzard, Chairman of the Emporia Electoral Board.
Ashley K. Wall was sworn in as the new General Registrar for the City of Emporia on Friday. Miss wall is only the fourth General Registrar in City History. At 23 years old, she is also the youngest. She is the first to not be a resident of the City. Miss Wall replaces Lucille Dunlow, who has been General Registrar since about 2003. Ms. Dunlow was the Assistant Registrar for many years before her appointment.
Miss Wall, a 2010 graduate of Greensville County High School, was one of several candidates interviewed for the appointment which was recently vacated by Ms. Dunlow.
Below is the transcript of the interview done with Miss Wall after she was sworn in.
Emporia News: What made you decide to apply for the position of General Registrar?
Ashley Wall: (Pause while thinking) Well, because I love the community, and I definitely love Emporia; so to see that type of position open and knowing how young I am - I 'm able to go out, reach out into the community, maybe get to voters that haven't been tapped into yet. So that's what made me apply. I saw it as a position of power and a position where I'm able to lead.
EN: You are obviously interested in politics, then?
AW: Yes. Yes I am.
EN: Dr, Legrow has said that you just graduated from college. Where did you go and what was your degree?
AW: I went to Virginia State University. I graduated in December 2014 and my major was Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. So I wanted to go into Public Relations but pretty much move into the public affairs sector, working with the government.
EN: And you think that the Mass Communications degree with the concentration in Public Relations will help in this position?
AW: Definitely, Definitely. Those communication skills are important, and talking to people who held the position before, I know that you're going to need them.
EN: You talked to Lucille?
AW: Well, her assistant...
EN: You've just said that you've lived here for 10 years, but were born in D. C. Did you stay in D. C. until you moved here?
AW: Yes, Yes.
EN: What experience do you have working on political campaigns?
AW: I actually worked with Delegate Roslyn Tyler for a little while, while I was in high school. So that's most of what I've had. Um...I worked with the grassroots campaign when Michelle Obama came to Virginia State; and you know that we did a lot of the prep work and planning for that. And that's a little bit of the politics that I have . I want to kind of get my hands in some more and I think that this position will really help with that.
EN: What all did you do for Delegate Tyler?
AW: Well, I was...I don't remember the official title of it, because I don't think there was an official title. But, you know, we helped with passing out campaign materials, you know, knocking on doors and stuff like that; and then we did help with some voters, like, getting voters to the polls and stuff. That was like 2008, so it was a long time ago.
EN: Do you have any experience registering voters, voter registration drives or anything like that?
AW: No, not much experience. So this is a whole new experience for me, and that's why I'm excited to take on the role, because it's new, its a learning opportunity.
EN: You actually live in the City?
AW: Um...I live in the County. I live almost in Skippers, right before you get to the truck stop.
EN: Do you have any plans to actually move into the City?
AW: Not at the current moment, no, not at the current moment. I have the security of living with my parents. I'm not rushing to leave Mommy and Daddy. (Editor's Note: The original advertisement, as posted on the City's website, stated, very clearly, that "The successful applicant must be a registered voter in Virginia and a resident of Emporia prior to taking the oath of office." It is unclear when that requirement changed.)
Independent-Messenger: Anything else you'd like to add about this position? When you got it, wheat were your feelings when you got the job?
AW: I was speechless. I was excited. I was so glad that...I asked how many people applied for the position, because to know that they are trusting me in such a leadership position, you know, really, my first career job after college. I'm so excited; you know, just happy. I'm humbled. I can't wait for the new opportunities and knowing that the people that held the position held it for so long; I'm ready to jump in and see why they loved it so much and why they were committed for so long.
EN: You say your "first career job." how long do you see yourself staying in Emporia?
AW: I can't answer that question because I don't know. You know, I never know what the future holds. So, at least for the next four years, you have me here. I'm not going anywhere.
In an effort to find out more about Miss Wall's experience, Emporia News reached out to the office of Delegate Roslyn Tyler. When asked about the name, none of the people asked knew who Miss Wall was. Miss Wall's name was not on any of the lists of campaign volunteers. One of the Delegate's staff even reached out to Del. Tyler, who also did not remember Miss Wall.