Support Kneece for coroner spot

We are less than three weeks away from the most significant election in a generation, and the offices that most significantly impact your daily life are at the county and state level. Among these is the office of county coroner. I support the most qualified, experienced, and compassionate candidate for this office. Therefore, I fully endorse Laura Kneece.

Our sitting county coroner recently wrote … in favor of Laura’s opponent, and such an eloquent composition deserves a reply.

Laura meets and exceeds all legal requirements to serve in this capacity. If she didn’t, she wouldn’t be on the ballot. Laura is a board certified Fellow of the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators: one of eight in South Carolina and one of 208 in the nation to hold this certification.

She also served on the National Institute of Justice’s Scientific Working Group for Medicolegal Death Investigations, holds membership in the International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners, and served as President of the SC International Association of Identification. Additionally, Laura is a 2012 recipient of LifePoint’s Dove Award for outstanding commitment to the promotion of life-saving organ and tissue donations.

Laura has served the public her entire adult life, as a School Resource Officer and Crime Scene Investigator for the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, and later a Forensic Death Investigator for the Lexington Coroner’s Office. She currently works as a morgue assistant for Newberry Pathology Associates.

Laura, like her opponent, is not a lifelong resident of this county. The fact that she has not spent most of her life in Newberry County does not, nor will not, affect her ability to serve the people in their most grievous moments. For me, your qualifications, compassion, and willingness to fulfill the duties of the coroner outweigh the time you’ve spent at a particular address.

Our coroner also notes that Laura’s Democratic opponent has been endorsed by a Republican coroner that once employed her. I answer that the office of coroner should not be tainted by party politics. The responsibilities of the office rise far above Republican or Democrat, and I, like Laura, believe such an office should be non-partisan, and party should not be an influential factor.

It should also be noted that Laura has written and justified budgets and quarterly reports in multiple grant positions for the Lexington Coroner’s and Sheriff’s offices. Laura often assumed the responsibilities of a deputy coroner, and took on a supervisor role when the coroner and chief deputy coroner were unavailable. She has dealt with county government, attended department head meetings, and used her versatile skills to save taxpayer funds where possible.

To suggest that Laura is an inexperienced interloper would be an irresponsible underestimation. Laura is a highly-skilled, decidedly determined, mature Christian woman with a proven past. It would be a mistake to deny her the opportunity to serve the people of this county. Let’s make a conscious, educated decision to elect Laura Kneece our Newberry County Coroner on Nov. 8.

James Salter


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