inda McDaniel has often been behind the scenes in political campaigns, helping with the elections of candidates.
Now, she’s the one on the signs, not the one putting the signs in the ground.
The Effingham County native and current assistant director of the Effingham Chamber of Commerce is one of two candidates vying for the Republican bid to challenge incumbent tax commissioner Lisa Wright in November.
She had been approached by a few friends if she would run.
“I said, ‘no, but let me talk to my family,’” McDaniel said. “Everyone was very supportive.”
After about two weeks of contemplation, she decided to run for the position.
“I had never given consideration to running for public office before,” she said. “I have assisted others in running for office. But this is the first time I’ve been out front.”
Her platform has centered around improving customer service at the tax commissioner’s office, which handles such functions as automobile registration, mobile home decals and property tax payments.
McDaniel wants to establish online payments for citizens. A young couple’s laments of the tax commissioner’s office lack of Internet payment options brought the point home to her.
“It’s a service. Any citizen does online banking and pays with a credit card,” she said. “It’s a disgrace citizens are not given the opportunity to do that. The (younger) generation expects that and we need to provide those services.”
McDaniel pointed to the Chamber’s use of online credit card payments for membership dues and to her purchase of campaign signs online using PayPal as to how easy credit card and online payments can be done. Many counties in the state are using online and credit card payment options, especially for car tags.
Use of online services not only will help Effingham taxpayers but also could help the office staff, according to McDaniel.
“I think it would reduce the number of walk-in clients if people were allowed to pay online,” she said. “Customer service is everything at that office.”
McDaniel said she doesn’t blame the staff for some of the customer service problems there.
“There are some things you can’t change and have no control over,” she said. “There are some ones you can change, and that’s what I want to do.”
McDaniel has spent much of her work career, including at the Effingham County Board of Education, in the public sector.
“I love it,” she said. “Public service to me is not a job, it’s an opportunity.”
The campaign has been challenging, she said, but she is enjoying it.
“It’s been a wonderful opportunity,” she said. “It makes you focus on your county. I’ve met people all across the county I probably wouldn’t have gotten to meet. There are a lot of people out there who are concerned about the direction of the county.”