4.4 min readBy Published On: October 24th, 2016Categories: Features0 Comments on Candidate Spotlight: John Keith: Register of Deeds

So early voting has begun and in addition to voting for President of the United States, you will be voting on 5 Questions and Register of Deeds.  What is the Register of Deeds?  Well, they are the person in charge of the Registry – where all land transactions are recorded.  Not super-sexy we know but regardless, you’ll be voting for that position.  We recently sat down with John Keith who is running as an independent candidate and had a little Q&A!

What motivated you to run for Register of Deeds? 
Out of the blue, a Twitter friend – someone I had never met – wrote a tweet back in March, saying he thought I should run for the position. I had never thought about it, until then. (The office opened up after the sitting Register, Mickey Roache, retired last December.)

I mulled the idea over and realized it made perfect sense for someone like me be the Register of Deeds.

Many people aren’t very familiar with what happens at the Registry of Deeds or what the Register does. The Registry is where land transactions are recorded. Anytime a person buys or sells a property – your house or your condo – it’s recorded at the Registry. There are 21 registries across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts – at least one per county. Suffolk County includes Boston, Chelsea, Winthrop, and Revere.

The Register of Deeds is the person in charge of the Registry.

I’ve been a real estate broker for the past fourteen years, so I already knew all about the Registry, from having to deal with it a regular basis. I knew I had the right background and experience to succeed in the position. That’s when I decided to run.

What do you hope to accomplish if you get elected?
I have two priorities. First, improve the Registry’s information system.  The Registry’s website is horrific – users find it very difficult to extract any information. The Registry collects the data; it’s just that it’s hard to extract. The Registry raises money every year from taxes and fees that’s supposed to go toward technology upgrades – so the money is there to improve the website and the system that backs it up; we just have to start spending that money.

Second, I want to abolish the office of Register of Deeds. That sounds odd – running for an office you hope stops existing – but it’s how I really feel.

The office of county register should be abolished, and replaced with one, single Register of Deeds, who reports to the Secretary of State or Governor. It would save a lot of money (millions a year). Streamlining the bureaucracy would mean more could be accomplished, with less, ultimately benefiting all residents.

Getting that done – abolishing the office – will take a lot of time and effort, but I think it’s a goal worth working toward.

Why should people vote for you?
I think voters should choose the candidate who has the best qualifications for the job, and with my knowledge and experience, I am that candidate. It’s not just my real estate background that will help me do this job, it’s my years of experience dealing with data and business analysis and completing software conversions.

Ultimately, this is an administrative job, and I have more than a decade’s worth of management experience. Voters can trust me to be committed to being the best Register of Deeds.

I’m not a career politician, and don’t plan on becoming one.  This is only my second campaign for public office. (I ran for State Representative in 2009, when I lived in the South End.) I only want to run for an office where I believe I have the right level of skills and experience.

It doesn’t really matter my political leanings, because this position doesn’t set any policy, but if anyone is curious, my Twitter friend described my point of view like this: “You have a healthy cynicism about the status quo, a desire to perform well, and a fairly progressive approach to things.”

What makes you different from Steve Murphy?
Ha, ha. “Not Steve Murphy” is a pretty good reason on its own to vote for me – the Boston Globe has published numerous stories on Steve and his behavior while a Boston City Councilor: not showing up for work; hiring unqualified friends for jobs at City Hall; being a political opportunist.

Suffolk County deserves a fresh start, and a public official who has the ability – and the desire – to succeed.
Do you live in Southie or the South End?

My husband Terry and I live at the Flats on D, across from the Convention Center, so in South Boston / South Boston Waterfront.

What’s your favorite spot in Southie?
Lately, I’ve been going to Shenanigans to hear the Conscious Reggae Band (they also play at Lucky’s).

Favorite restaurant?
We never eat out, to be honest. We pick up AK’s at least once a week. I’ve started getting their Buffalo Chicken pizza, which is the perfect lunch, dinner, or breakfast.

To learn more about John’s campaign visit here!   Make sure to follow him on twitter too!


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