iCare Community Magazine
An Exclusive Interview with Jenny Fields, Candidate for Martin County Property Appraiser
When Martin County residents go to the polls for primary voting this August, they will choose a new candidate for the position of Martin County Property Appraiser for the first time in nearly three decades. Thankfully, there is one clearly qualified candidate who has literally been training for this role for her entire professional career: Jenny Fields.
Endorsed by Laurel Kelly, Retiring Property Appraiser
Fields, Martin County’s Assistant Property Appraiser, is second in command to Laurel Kelly, who has led the Appraiser’s office for 28 years and is set to retire at year’s end. She has Kelly’s endorsement and full support.
“You are an office veteran and proven leader who will be able to hit the ground running as Martin County Property Appraiser,” says Kelly. “You will serve our community at the level we deserve and expect. I am proud that you will have an Open Door Policy and continue to protect property owners from overassessment.”
Uniquely Qualified for a Demanding Role
Fields has worked full-time in the Property Appraiser’s office for 31 years, with experience in each department and a focus on quality control and lean processes, to ensure that the office is operating efficiently. She is a Certified Florida Evaluator (CFE) and a member of the International Association of Assessing Officers. Over her career, she has developed solid working relationships with property owners, the local real estate community, and local county and city departments.
The Property Appraiser’s office oversees Martin County’s $32 billion in property value, which consists of residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural and tangible personal property. The values established by the Property Appraiser’s office are the foundation of the property tax revenue system, so it is important that they operate in a bipartisan manner and are independent of the taxing authorities.
The office maintains the legal descriptions and boundaries for every property in the county on its geographic mapping system. It also maintains the largest database in the county, including ownership and addresses for every property. This information is used county-wide, including by the Sheriff’s Office and Fire Rescue.
The job of overseeing this multi-faceted and strategically vital office isn’t for beginners. It takes a trained and experienced expert to get it right. “The Appraiser’s role is complex, challenging and highly technical,” says Fields. “It is a huge responsibility, and our community deserves the best.”
Professional, Not Political
Fields will be the first to tell you that she isn’t a politician. She is, at her core, a dedicated civil servant with decades of historical knowledge of the workings of the Property Appraiser’s office. She knows the responsibilities inside out and takes them very seriously.
“This is a constitutional officer position, governed by the Florida constitution,” Fields explains. “We have laws we must follow, statutes we go by. Although it is an elected position, it demands specialized expertise.”
Voters should evaluate candidates for the office as if they were interviewing them for a job, says Fields. “Every voter needs to look at this as if they own this company and they are hiring a CEO. Wouldn’t they want to choose a candidate with years of experience and related education, one who knows the business from the ground up?”
Building on a Strong Foundation
Under Laurel Kelly’s leadership, the Property Appraiser’s office has established a well-earned reputation for accuracy, transparency, responsiveness and accessibility. Along the way, the staff has successfully managed a myriad of challenges and their effects on property values, including hurricanes, algae blooms, airport noise and railroad development.
Fields has been a long-time member of Kelly’s leadership team. As second in command in Laurel Kelly’s organization, she continues to expand the office’s Open Door Policy and build on the accomplishments they’ve made.
“Laurel set the foundation for the open door culture that lives and breathes in our office,” says Fields. “We invite you to come in, we listen to your concerns, and you don’t have to make an appointment. We’ll open our books and sit with you until we’ve answered every question you have. We want to get you every exemption you deserve, and make sure you are protected from overassessment.”
Fields is enhancing the office’s online accessibility to make it easier for property owners. She is also proposing more outreach to the community through seminars and public awareness days. “It is important to educate everyone about who we are and what resources are available to them,” she says.
A Lifetime of Service
Fields was born and raised in Martin County, and lives in Palm City with her husband Brett. Her daughter Brittany is newly married and living in Indiana, and daughter Taylor is actively serving as a United States Navy Corpsman stationed in Japan.
The women in Fields’ family have a rich history of public and military service, including Fields’ mother, aunt, twin sister and daughter. Her father and twin sister are also Army veterans. Fields grew up with this example of dedication and has carried it through her decades of work at the Property Appraiser’s office.
“This office is my life,” says Fields. “I am personally invested, and so proud of our amazing team. I owe it to Martin County to continue to make the Property Appraiser’s office the best that it can be.”
JENNY FIELDS, CFE:
The Clear, Qualified Choice For Martin County Property Appraiser
Get in Touch with Jenny
Jenny loves meeting Martin County residents and answering their questions! If you haven’t met her at a community event or as she goes door to door, she invites you to call or e-mail her with any questions you may have. You can reach her at 772-285-6356 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about Jenny’s property appraiser education, qualifications, certifications and community involvement, and to read Laurel Kelly’s full endorsement letter, visit Jenny’s web site atjennyfields4pa.com, or find her on Facebook at Jenny Fields Campaign for Martin County Property Appraiser. See you at the polls!