Like all other Alexandria elected officials, Edward Semonian, the clerk of the court, is a Democrat, and he's running unopposed.
Semonian was first elected as clerk of the court in Alexandria in 1979. “I grew up in Alexandria, worked as an attorney for several years and then worked for a bank holding company,” Semonian said. “In 1979, some friends came to me and asked if I would be interested in running for clerk and, as it seemed to combine a number of things that I had done and was interested in doing, I said yes.”
As clerk of the court, Semonian manages an office of 23 people and provides support to three Circuit Court judges and their staff. “I am also responsible for all of the real-estate transactions that occur in the City of Alexandria,” Semonian said. “This keeps us particularly busy because of all of the development.”
Semonian said his office provides a clerk to assist judges in all criminal cases and in civil cases when they are hired. “These clerks make certain that all of the paperwork in any given case is put where it belongs.”
ONE OF THE MOST visible components of Semonian’s job is the public service. “We help people who want to obtain a marriage license or file divorce decrees or who need to probate a will,” he said. “Hundreds of people come into the office, and we respond to their requests as best we can.”
What are the qualities that are most important in a clerk of the court?
“Certainly being well-organized is important,” Semonian said. “Also, it is very important to be patient. I deal with many very nice people each day, but I also deal with people who are in the office because they are required to be here. It is a very interesting job.”
Interesting and important, according to Alexandria commonwealth’s attorney, S. Randolph Sengel.
“Ed Semonian is truly one of the unsung heroes in the city,” Sengel said. “We rely on him and his staff every day for information about our cases. He is organized and thorough, and I don’t know what we would do without him.”
Semonian will be on the city election ballot on Nov. 4.