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Britt Springer. Photo submitted.

Originally published: 2013-08-02 12:52:59
Last modified: 2013-08-02 17:14:48

Springer to run for district attorney

Chief prosecutor Britt Springer announced Friday she will run for District Attorney in 2014 -- and she has the endorsement of current DA Jerry Wilson.

Wilson, whose term ends Dec. 31, 2014, has served in the district's attorney's office for 32 years -- 20 years as assistant district attorney and 12 as district attorney. He ran unopposed during all three DA elections and will not run again.

Attorney Nathan Miller, chairman of the Watauga County Board of Commissioners, confirmed in May that he was considering a run for the position.

As an assistant district attorney for Watauga, Avery, Mitchell, Yancey and Madison counties for 10 years, Springer has prosecuted cases "at all levels, including prosecuting homicide cases in all five counties," she wrote in a statement Friday. "Another field that I have made a priority and taken a hard line stance on is child sex abuse cases. We simply cannot allow these perpetrators the opportunity to reoffend. The stakes are too high when we are dealing with our community's children."

Springer said she was confident in her abilities to step into the district attorney position.

"I am a proven prosecutor that can get the job done and continue to serve the people of the 24th Judicial District in the best way I know how," Springer said. "Experience, integrity and fairness is what we need in a District Attorney, and I am just the person to sustain those qualities in our District Attorney's Office."

Her campaign will kick off with a meet-and-greet at Amalfi's restaurant in Boone from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Aug. 13, to be followed by events in the other counties.

Springer noted that she has the endorsement of Wilson and Chief District Court Judge Alexander Lyerly. Wilson threw his support fully behind Springer in a statement Friday.

"If we are to keep our mountain community a safe place to live, work and raise our children, our vote must not be based on friendship, kinship or pure partisan politics," Wilson wrote. "Instead, it must be based upon the candidate's experience and ability to carry out the duties of this office."

He urged voters to ask district attorney candidates what experience they have trying serious felonies such as murder, child sexual assault or kidnapping.

"Dealing with cases of this sort is not something you look up or learn in a book," he continued. "It only comes from years of experience dealing with these cases in the courtroom. Ask the candidate what experience they have in Superior Criminal Court. Dealing with traffic tickets and misdemeanors in District Court does not prepare an attorney to take on the duties of district attorney. Ask them if they are experienced in pre-trial and post-conviction hearings in Criminal Superior Court. These are hearings the public is usually never aware of, but they are the 'make or break' in many serious criminal trials."

Wilson said Springer met all of those criteria.

"She is an experienced and able prosecutor, capable of stepping into the job of District Attorney and properly carrying out her duties from day one," he continued. "She has spent years prosecuting criminal cases at the highest levels, gaining the experience and knowledge which is indispensable to the office of District Attorney.

"I strongly support and endorse Mrs. Springer as my successor because our community cannot afford an inexperienced District Attorney."

Wilson, who was raised in Bakersville in Mitchell County, said it was an honor to have served the residents of the five mountain counties.

"I leave knowing that I will miss the hundreds of friends I have made over these many years, but I look forward to spending more time with my wife, Karen, and more time trout fishing."

Filing for the election takes place in February 2014.