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RACINE —Amy Vanderhoef cited friends and family at her swearing-in ceremony as Racine County Clerk of Circuit Court Thursday afternoon.

Vanderhoef, 49, was appointed by the court, effective July 1, to fill the remainder of the term of Sam Christensen which ends in 3 ½ years. He resigned to become the Clerk of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. 

Vanderhoef, who has worked for 24 years in the county courts, had most recently been the Felony Court Case Manager in the Clerk of Court’s office. She had previously held deputy clerk and administrative positions in the Racine County District Attorney’s office and the Racine County Corporation Counsel office.

“There is no one who knows the ins and outs of this building and courts better than Amy,” Racine County District Attorney Patricia Hansen told the audience that filled a 4th-floor courtroom. The gathering included current and former judges, Vanderhoef’s colleagues, family members and friends.

Vanderhoef’s sister speaks

Amy Vanderhoef sworn in as Clerk of Court
Racine County Clerk of Court Amy Vanderhoef poses with a bouquet of roses from well-wishers on Thursday. She was sworn in at a ceremony before friends and family at the Racine County Courthouse. – Credit: Paul Holley

Kim Dexter, Vanderhoef’s younger sister, joked that the siblings literally grew up in the Racine County Courthouse because their mother, Gail Johnson, worked in various offices there for more than 30 years.

Dexter also told of how Amy, as a fifth grader, “became a master of the city bus routes” because the family had no car for a time. She added that her older sister was – and still is – a competitor in sports, including softball that she plays each week.

“She never let anybody tell her she wasn’t good enough or fast enough,” Dexter said of her sister.

Dexter added that Vanderhoef is “a natural leader who instills confidence in others. She’s always been that way.”

“I’m so happy for you,” said Dexter. “You set a goal years ago and you’ve achieved it.”

Accompanied by her daughters, Samantha and Madalyn, Vanderhoef was sworn in by Circuit Court Judge Faye Flancher. Vanderhoef then addressed the audience.

She paid tribute to three important women in her life – all of whom are no longer present. First was her mother, who passed away a decade ago. Second, was Rose Lee, former Clerk of Court who hired Vanderhoef in 2011 and passed away in 2015. The third was Lisa Hannes, a long-time friend and colleague who passed away in 2019. Vanderhoef noted that each of these women was encouraging and supportive in their own ways.

“I share this message with my daughters – follow your dreams and work hard.”

About the Clerk of Circuit Court Office

The Clerk of Circuit Court serves as the administrative link between the courts, the Racine County Board and the public. Among the office’s responsibilities are:

  • Record keeping for all circuit court cases filed in the county
  • Managing and providing jurors for the circuit court
  • Maintaining records, collecting and disbursing court-related finances, including fines, forfeitures, bail, trust and reimbursements

Racine County, with 10 judges, is the state’s fourth-largest circuit court. The circuit courts have original jurisdiction of all civil and criminal matters, including probate, juvenile and traffic.

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Paul Holley is retired from careers in journalism, public relations and marketing but not from life. These days, he pretty much writes about what he feels like writing. You may contact him directly at:...