Merrie Street, the former Harford County director of government and community relations during the Jim Harkins administration, filed last week as a candidate for Register of Wills.
Street, who lives in Bel Air and has worked in radio, communications and public affairs, will face opposition in the Republican Primary Election from Derek K. Hopkins, an auctioneer from Pylesville.
Hopkins, who is not related to longtime Harford County Register of Wills Harry “Tombstone” Hopkins, has been fundraising and campaigning since he filed as a candidate for the office in August.
It remains to be seen whether Street will garner the support of the local Republican regime, of which she was such a major part while serving as the mouthpiece of the county executive’s office.
It also remains to be seen whether any other contenders will join the race for Register of Wills. Prior to his re-election to the Bel Air Board of Town Commissioners there was speculation Rob Preston was interested in the Register of Wills position. During a candidate’s forum host by The Dagger in late October, Preston, when asked about seeking higher office, said he was “leaving his options open.”
What is the Register of Wills? Here is the official job description, according to a probate attorney:
The Register of Wills is responsible for appointing personal representatives to administer decedents’ estates and for overseeing the proper and timely administration of these proceedings. We also perform the following duties: assist and advise the public in the preparation of all required forms; maintain and preserve the permanent record of all proceedings; serve as the Clerk to the Orphans’ Court; track estates and refer delinquent matters to the Court; determine and collect inheritance taxes and probate fees/court costs; audit accounts of personal representatives and guardians; mail various notices and court orders to interested persons; and, verify compliance with court orders.
Here’s some information from Hopkins’ Facebook page:
Birthday: August 12, 1976
Hometown: Darlington, MD
Siblings: Megan Hopkins
Married to Katrina Dawn Hopkins
Political Views: Republican Party
Religious Views: Christian – Methodist
Activities: Whiteford Vol Fire Company, Outdoors, Horse Racing,
Interests: I am going to be running for Harford County Register of Wills in 2010.
Favorite Music: Country, Bluegrass, and Southern Rock.
Favorite TV Shows: Shark Week, Sports, TVG
About Me: Derek Hopkins is currently a full time Auctioneer, Appraiser, and a 3rd Generation Real Estate agent that has focused on estate services. Hopkins is a Graduate of North Harford High School where he served in the FFA and as a State Vice President. After High School he attended Virginia Tech with a focus on Business Management and worked in the Swine Research Center. Hopkins is a Graduate of the Missouri Auction School, Kansas City, MO, and is a Graduate of the three year Certified Auctioneer Institute program held at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.
Hopkins is a past 4-H member and has been an active volunteer for years. He first joined the Darlington Volunteer Fire Company at the age of 16 where he served as a firefighter and EMS member. After buying a home in Pylesville, he joined the Whiteford Volunteer Fire Company where he is an active Fire Fighter, EMS Driver, current President and has served many other roles in the company. During Hurricane Katrina he was sent by FEMA to be deployed to Mississippi where he served over a month helping the citizens of the gulf coast. Hopkins has also served on a number of other community groups. He is a member of the Harford County‘s Ag advisory board and is advocate for the agricultural industry.
Derek grew up on the Hopkins Family farm in Darlington where he says he learned his hard work ethic from his Great Grandmother Hazel Hopkins and Grandfather Harry G. Hopkins. The family farm is now in farm preservation. Hopkins resides in Pylesville with his wife Katrina who has worked for the State of Maryland’s Court System for over 12 years. They have two children, Tim, 9 and Emma, 6. The family spends a lot of time now working on their small farm where they have dairy goats, beef cattle, and chickens. 4-H is a big part of their family life and it allows them to spend a lot of family time together.
Education and Work
High School: North Harford High ’95
Location: Pylesville, MD
Description: Auctioneer, and Hope to be Harford Register of Wills
Here’s a tidbit from his Facebook page:
I believe I have what it takes to be a strong leader, and will be committed not just to the office but also to improving the lives of every citizen of Harford County. Through outreach and educating seniors and family members about the Register of Wills I hope to show just how important it is to have a will filed. Like the current register, I am out to make this a full time career, and not a retirement job like others. I will be in the office every day working side by side with the dedicated staff in the office.
Here’s some information from Street’s Facebook page:
Birthday: June 8
Hometown: Marywood , Bel Air, MD
Relationship Status: Married
Looking For: Networking
Political Views: Responsibility
Personal Information Activities: Traveling, Scuba Diving, Quilting
Interests: Use to be Politics but in Maryland there is no reason to be active.
Favorite Music: Classical
Favorite TV Shows: Antiques Roadshow
Favorite Movies: nothing since the 50’s
Favorite Books: anything with suspense and happy ever after endings
Favorite Quotations: You don’t stop laughing when you grow old. You grow old when you stop laughing.
Education and Work
College: Oklahoma ’75
High School: Bel Air Senior High ’71
Position: communications specialist
A tidbit from her candidate’s page:
“What sets me apart from any other candidate mentioned for this position is my demonstrated experience of creating and executing outreach programming. My goal is to take the office into the community.” – Merrie Street
jimmy stillwell says
the current register of wills…HARRY L.W. ‘TOMBSTONE’ HOPKINS….earned the famed nickname years ago by selling tombstones…and helping out at Foster’s Funeral Home (now McComas’Funeral Home)….
to win ‘TOMBSTONE’S’ seat…a new, fresh, poignant nickname must surface…and I don’t see that happening just now….
well, maybe “DEREK ‘DIGGER’ HOPKINS”
Joseph Caruso says
jimmy stillwell –
A proper nickname may be required. Derek is an auctioneer so how about Derek “The Hammer” Hopkins?
I’m def. supporting Derek all the way. He’s a great guy, active in the political community, and has a passion for everything he does.
“Interests: Use to be Politics but in Maryland there is no reason to be active.”
If this is Ms. Street’s attitude/view then why is she running for office?
Porter G says
“’Interests: Use to be Politics but in Maryland there is no reason to be active.’
If this is Ms. Street’s attitude/view then why is she running for office?”
-How much politicking is involved with Register of Wills?
I’m not saying there is much politicking involved with ROW, the point I was trying to make is ‘why would you support someone for a political/elected office who, as a citizen, has the point of view that they don’t need to be active?’
Our current situation where gov. keeps expanding and taking our liberty and freedoms is partially due to citizens not being active and holding their officials accountable for their decisions.
Porter G says
Don’t you think that she was being a bit sarcastic? Especially considering that she is a Republican. I took her point as, ‘try and try as you may, the Dems just strong arm everything they want through anyway’. I can see where someone might point out a concern with the statement initially, but I think that it seems fairly easily explained away as tongue in cheek…it is on facebook afterall.
BTW, I don’t know her from Adam or anything about her.
That’s why everyone using facebook, twitter, whatever should think carefully about what they’re posting for the entire world to see…that goes double for anyone in the public eye like teachers, police officers, politicians, etc.
jimmy stillwell says
well, i can tell by the comments…this Register of Wills race is gonna be a real ‘barn burner’…
Mama Mia! says
It should be an administrative position (NOT appointed) of Harford County Government. Same for the Clerk of the Court. What a joke. These positions don’t make law, they don’t enact code, etc. They are purely administrative positions.
Change the charter regarding these positions and abolish the elections for the same. THEN politics won’t be involved!
Why Mama Mia? So Craig can appoint a family member or buttbuddy?
Mama Mia! says
Brenda…you can’t read? I mentioned “NOT Appointed” clearly in my post on February 4th.
The positions (Register of Wills and Clerk of the Court) should be standard Harford County Government hired positons. No politics involved (elections or appointments!)
Does THAT clarify my position enough for you?
Mama Mia, I certainly can read. Hence, why I am able to formulate an opinion on this matter. I am sure that a secretarial position (craigs sister in law) sheriffs office spokesperson (craigs buddy) etc etc etc are in fact HIRED positions or at least they were prior to Craigs administration. In fact, I agree that the position should be a hired position. But we voters need to do a better job of vetting those elected officials we put into office. There is no transparency in Craigs administration.
I think this would require a change in the Maryland Constitution. I think that is where the authority comes from for this position. Each County has its own ROW.
Hasn’t Craig run out of family members and political campaigners to appoint to high paying jobs? When will it ever end?
There are always neighbors and friends of friends if he should happen to run out. He is so blatant in his nepotism.
jimmy stillwell says
the more i read some of these insane comments the more I truly believe the voters usually get what they deserve…The Register of Wills is an elected position…David Craig has nothing to do with it, unless he dies…Anyone who has been through a death in their family knows full well the great job Tombstone and his most capable assistant do. It’s a responsible post, and one that whomever wins it better pay attention to the job and not dilly-dally around.
ain’t foolin’ neither…
I just found out that Mrs. Derek Hopkins works in the Register of Wills office. I’m sure people will disagree, but it seems to me that is a bit out of line. I’m not saying husband & wife teams can’t work in the same agency; however, the Register of Wills office probably only has 4 or so employees. I’m sure the comment will be that they are mature individuals and can separate their personal lives from their professional ones, but isn’t one of the golden rules NOT to have a personal relationship with someone you work with? Unless, of course, the Hopkins are taking it to the next level by not only working with family & friends, but with spouses as well. One very good reason to vote for Mary Street.
Gregory A. says
Thanks for your concern but this is old news. The Hopkins team has already dealt with this issue at the state level and, despite being told it is permitted, she will leave her position after the election of Derek Hopkins. Derek does not believe in hiring or working with family on a government level.
Thank you for the clarification. I just don’t believe the situation as it presents itself is proper and thankfully Mr. and Mrs. Hopkins find it as inappropriate as I do. I really do appreciate this information.
Johnathan A. says
Lets face it…too many issues here. Wife working in the same office..he is an Auctioneer, Real Estate Practitioner, too many “Side Ventures” that could easily profit from direct contact with an un-suspecting public filing their will or having the office handle probate. I don’t like it…it smells. Lets have fresh new blood in their without all these “side” interests. Mary Street, endorsed by the former Governor, is my pick. period. I like Derek. I have known him personally for years now but I don’t want Grandma’s estate “combed over”. No accusations here..just why would you even put yourself in that light and position for people to question..really. If I am a Taxidermist….I am not going to apply to work at the zoo…
the council president has family employed with the county also.