One Monticello Life – Tonya Loveless, Candidate for Drew County CollectorSeptember 17th, 2012 by Mandy Moss
Tonya Loveless was born in Jonesboro, AR and raised here in Monticello by parents Van and Karen Brown, along with her four siblings.
“My family was awesome. We did a lot of camping, fishing, and hunting. I think I was on a deer stand before I was bigger than my rifle. We loved water skiing and boating and having so many siblings made everything fun… I had a pretty good life.” “My grandparents were great, they were here in Monticello. (Albert and Willie Mae Hobbs, and Jim and Toni Holcomb – they were a big part of my life. I was rotten because they treated me so great.” “Willie Mae is my last living grandparent.”
Tonya attended Drew Central Schools and graduated from DCHS in 1986.
“I went to UAM for two years, but didn’t finish my degree because I went into the workforce. I went in to work at Farmers Insurance and spent 16 years in insurance after that.”
Ms. Loveless went from Farmers Insurance to Campbell and Company in Camden. Then, she took a position at Savage Insurance back in Monticello as their Commercial Lines Manager and Office Manager.
“I’ve worked in the two lines of work that are the most hated, no one wants to pay for insurance but they have to, no one wants to pay taxes but they have to… but, they are glad to see that it benefits them in the end.”
Tonya has held the position of Executive Collector at the Drew County Sheriff and Collector’s Office from January of 2005 until present day.
“My two grown sons are off living their lives and my oldest have graced me with 3 grandchildren; two grandsons and one granddaughter. “ “He is in farming, works for JA Farms… he loves it, and it’s outdoors so it’s his cup of tea.”
“Ashton is in the Air Force, stationed in Omaha, and got married two years ago to Leah.” “His idea of grandchildren is his dog… a Cocker Spaniel. He sent me pictures and said here’s your grandson, Bandit.”
“Ashton worked so hard to get a scholarship to UCA, and one semester he just came home and sad, “Mom, I just enrolled in the Air Force.” “I had told him to try college, and if it doesn’t work and isn’t what you want, I will back you in whatever decision you make. He came home, and he decided he wanted to go military. I think in his own mind he wanted the discipline you get from the military, and he got it. He’s got his Associate’s Degree and is working on his Bachelor’s… he’s getting his education and experiencing the world and I’m proud for him.”
“My 12 year old keeps me on my toes, he’s an honor student at MMS, and football is his life outside of hunting and fishing. Ever since he was big enough to sit in a deer stand… he’s been. I had a deer stand made with carpet in it and we would bring a pillow because he always wanted to go hunting with mamma. He loves his football…he’s going to be a Razorback one of these days.”
“My kids are my joy!” “I’m known through my kids, and that’s what I like. I try to go to everything.”
Other than her children, Tonya says her biggest fans are her parents, and they have been right beside her every step of the way. Their commitment to her has been even more apparent since the election process started.
“My biggest supporters through this election process have been my mom and dad. When the first set of signs came in my dad had the best time going around with them. I think he just enjoyed talking to people. He had a quadruple bi-pass surgery and it really gave him a new lease on life… he just enjoys everything so much more now.” “He’s had a blast with this. My mom has ordered everything and helped me write up everything, she pushes me when I’m exhausted. They have been awesome, they have been great.”
“I have some great friends that are very supportive, too. I joked with them that they don’t like me very much or they’d have told me not to do this.”
Ms. Loveless’s reason for running for the position of Collector is different than from everyone else. She told MLlive, “I’m just attempting to keep the job I’ve been doing, my job will not change, other than the fact that it will be titled as an elected position. All of the checking accounts I’m over will be the same. Things like land sells I’m over, if I have this position next year my signature will be on those instead of Sheriff Gober’s because it required an elected officer to sign it. Other than that, nothing will change.”
She said that it came to her as quite a shock that her job would be in jeopardy.
“I didn’t come into this job thinking it would turn into an elected position one day.”
Over the years, Ms. Loveless said that she has worked very hard to help the burden of paying taxes easier on the people that come into her office.
“People don’t like paying taxes, especially if they don’t understand them. So, I try to guide them and educate them as to why there has been a change or something they don’t quite understand.“ “You can’t make everyone happy but a lot of people understand it’s a part of life, and we try to make it as easy as we can. That’s my goal; make it as easy as you can for the consumer, for the tax payer, and even for myself.” “I love it when they leave with a smile on their face after walking in with a scowl.”
“I have worked this position. I’ve done everything in that office. Laws have changed, software has changed, and I’ve been able to learn and change with it. Our County is about to go through a big transition, a new judge for example, and now we’ll have to have an actual elected collector. Someone needs to be able to go to work on January 1 and be able to get to work and know what they’re doing. I can walk in January 1 and my office will be the same as it was December 31.”
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