By Randy Arrington
LURAY, Feb. 10 — Although he spent the majority of his adult life as a local business owner in the private sector, Grayson Markowitz has long held a desire to serve the public from an elected position.
“I have aspired to be Clerk of the Court since I was 27 years old,” Markowitz said earlier this week. He was first elected to the office in 2015 among a field of nine candidates. It was his second attempt…although his aspirations go back almost as far as his affiliation with the local Republican Committee.
His father had him working at Markowitz Appliance Center when he was a teenager. He would later take over the business and operate it for more than four decades. His father also took him to numerous political functions, and at a young age, Grayson became actively involved with the Page County Republican Committee.
“I always liked [longtime former clerk of the court] Ikey Miller and I respected him,” Markowitz said. “This was a position that was of interest to me, and I always respected him for that opportunity to talk with him about it.”
Miller held the clerk’s office for more than two decades before being defeated by Democratic challenger and former county administrator Ron Wilson, who won two consecutive, eight-year terms in 1999 and 2007. Markowitz unsuccessfully challenged Wilson in 2007, but won a plurality of the vote in 2015 among a field of nine on the ballot.
Earlier this week, Markowitz told Page Valley News that he intends to seek a second, eight-year term as Clerk of the Court on this November’s ballot at the age of 69.
“For my 45 years in business, I was a public servant…it was dealing with people, and I love dealing with people,” Markowitz said. “I feel that there are things that I haven’t accomplished yet that I need more time to accomplish.”
Through the years, Markowitz has played many roles in the community, from being a Master Mason and 42-year member of the Luray Lions Club (president the last 10 years), to being an associate member of the Page Valley Fair Association and the Luray Volunteer Fire Department. He currently servers as vice chairman of the local Republican Committee, a member of Luray VFW Post 621 and its auxiliary, a committee chairperson for Boy Scout Troop 100, and a longtime supporter of Page One.
“I’ve been involved with many people in Page County,” Markowitz said. “I’m privileged to have served all those people over all those years. That is the main crux…serving the people of Page County…but working in government is totally different than working with people in the private sector.”
Over the course of his first eight-year term as clerk of the Page County Circuit Court, Markowitz has overseen several improvements, including the digitizing of all deeds, plats and wills from 1831 to the present. He says all of that information “is now in the cloud” thanks to a grant that paid most of the $160,000 cost. Users have to pay $600 a year to access the digital data — an average rate for similar services across the state — and Markowitz uses the $25,000 generated from those fees annually to help pay for technology upgrades in the office.
“That way I don’t have to ask the county for that money,” the clerk said.
Markowitz has also overseen the creation of “credit-card-style” identification for concealed weapon permits, installed security cameras throughout the clerk’s office, found thousands in savings in long-term contracts, and installed two 65-inch flatscreens in the courtroom to replace the former “TV on a cart” system that allows for remote testimony. The remote system saves the sheriff’s office thousands of dollars in staff time that would have been spent transporting inmates to and from court.
“I haven’t abused their dollars,” Markowitz said to taxpayers. “The Page County tax dollar is safe with me.”
The Clerk of the Court greatly praises his staff, which has grown by one full-time and one part-time position since Markowitz arrived in 2016.
“I have the greatest staff in the whole world,” the Clerk said. “One of the great enjoyments each day is coming in to work with this staff. They are so dedicated to the job.”
The size of the Clerk’s staff is based on the workload put before them. With the number of cases increasing, Markowitz expects the court to move from holding proceedings three days a week, to four…possibly as early as this spring. He has already requested another position in anticipation of the expanded court schedule. The additional position would be paid through the state compensation board, and not by the county.
“Having been a clerk for eight years, I have learned the enormity and the amount of effort that goes into being a clerk of the court,” Markowitz said. “It’s been an amazing eight years, and you learn something every day.”
Despite his age and his ability to retire, Markowitz wants to keep serving the public in a second, eight-year term as Clerk of the Court.
“I’m not ready to retire. I’m in the prime of my life. I feel it’s one of those things…if you are able to help people, and every day we can help people…I get a lot of joy out of that,” the incumbent Republican said. “I’m a life-long resident of Page County and I have taken this first term very seriously. I have spent many hours learning all aspects of being a clerk and I have been conscientious in everything that I have done.”
“I like being a clerk. I love being a clerk,” he added. “I get up every day happy that I am the Clerk of Page County, and I would appreciate everyone’s support.”
Learn more about the Page County Circuit Court and Clerk Grayson Markowitz
at the office’s home page.