For 20 years Betty McDaniel has been a deputy clerk for Socorro County. One the first faces welcoming citizens walking into the clerk’s office, El Defensor Chieftain visited the office to find out more about her.
Question: How did you come into this position?
Answer: I was working in the manager’s office for around a year. Then there was an opening and was asked to transfer over here which is where I have been ever since.
Q: What are your day to day responsibilities in this office?
A: I help with recordings and right now we’re busy with elections. We also work with citizens' needs and work with the probate courts when things like properties of the deceased need to be probated.
Q: What is expected of you from your bosses?
A: Just do our duty. That’s it. They’re pretty lenient and treat us well as long as we do our jobs correctly. I’ve been fortunate from the day I came in to have had good bosses. And trust me if that wasn’t true I would say so.
Q: What is your favorite part of working here?
A: Being around the people. Everyday you have somebody new walk through the door. I like to help every way that I can no matter who it is. Not everyday is perfect. You work with the public and sometimes get yelled at. But we try to greet everyone with a smile.
Q: How does election time affect your office?
A: That is the most hectic time of the year. People start calling more and people come in registering to vote. A lot more people coming in with questions.
Q: Is this your only place of employment?
A: I have another part-time job. I’ve always had multiple jobs. I worked as a waitress and bartender at the El Camino before going over to the Owl Bar where I’m currently at. My shifts are Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. I get to balance this desk job at the clerk’s office then go and wait tables so it balances things out.
Q: Are you born and raised in Socorro?
A: Yes. I lived in Albuquerque for about four years while I went to Washington Jr. High school before our family moved back here. I never liked big cities. My parents divorced when I was five so I was raised by a single mother, Francis Jaramillo. My father was Benny Benavidez and left what became our family of eight children, which I am the oldest.
Q: How did the divorce affect you?
A: It really didn’t. I was young and didn’t really know what was going on. My father would pick us up every now and then to take us to eat. I’ve been divorced myself and a single parent for over 34 years myself. We had problems like everyone else. But I was in contacted with my dad throughout the years. He stays with me now after my mother passed a few years ago after a complication with surgery. I’ve had him with me for the last seven years.
Q: Do you have any regrets having made the decision to staying in a small community?
A: I probably could have done more if I had been in a bigger city. It would have provided more opportunities.
Q: A few random questions, what is your favorite movie?
A: That would be “A Christmas Story”. I love it because it’s a clean and cheerful movie. I love Christmas and the holidays. It makes me so happy.
Q: What is your favorite type of music?
A: I like Hispanic music and country. But you’re gonna laugh when I say this. I love Tupac. It puts me in a good mood because that is what my son use to listen to. My grandkids like to poke fun at me about that.
Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
A: I’m a homebody, so I like Socorro. If I had to go somewhere else maybe Northern New Mexico. I like the scenery up there.
Q: Is there a moment from your past that you are most proud of?
A: Becoming a mother. You get rich when you have kids. We always think in life that we want this or that, but it’s nothing compared to raising children. The material stuff doesn’t matter.
Q: If there was something that you could change about Socorro County, what would it be?
A: Get rid of all of the drugs. It’s hard to see people walking around town that have been burned out on drugs and walking the streets. I feel bad seeing those things. We need more help for the homeless and those with drug addiction.
The Socorro County Clerk’s Office is in charge of elections on Tuesday, November 5. Feel free to stop in and Ms. McDaniel.