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Clem: Doctors’ want me to relax, heal – ‘that’s what I plan to do’

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – About half-way through what would have been her fourth term as Indian River County’s Supervisor of Elections, Kay Clem is calling it quits.

Battling for several years a medical condition she declined to identify for, Clem said that her doctors have been pushing her to “stop and relax and heal.” “And that’s what I plan to do,” the county’s elections chief said.

She sent a letter of resignation to Gov. Charlie Crist’s office dated Nov. 9 and is recommending Assistant Supervisor of Elections Leslie Swan to fill the remaining two years of her term.

“There is no one better qualified” to run the office, Clem said Wednesday afternoon of Swan. “We don’t have time for on-the-job training.”

Clem’s resignation will be effective Dec. 31 and she said she plans to work up until that date.

After that, Clem intends to spend her time with her friends and family – especially her twin 17-year-old girls who will be leaving for college soon.

“I don’t plan on doing anything,” Clem said of her soon-to-be-free-time. The only thing she will be focusing on, she added, is focusing on her health.

“I have endured chronic pain issues resulting from unresolved health conditions for the last few years,” Clem writes in the one-page resignation letter to Crist. “While I have met many of the health goals established by my physicians over that time, they have recommended that I end my tenure in order to gain control of the health issues that will not improve unless I do so.”

In the letter, Clem says that her resignation will come at a time that would allow for a “smooth transition” for the office and that she feels “comforted that the professional team I leave in place will be able to carry their next leader through the toughest part of the elections administration cycle.”

“The office must begin preparations for the complex redistricting duties we are required to carry out at the beginning of the new year,” Clem writes.

Gov. Crist will appoint someone to complete Clem’s term.

“The Governor’s Appointments Office is accepting applications from individuals interested in serving and will make an appointment after careful review and interviews with the applicants,” said Gov. Crist’s Press Secretary Sterling Ivey in an e-mail to

As of yet, the office has not received any applications, Ivey said.

Clem, 57, has served as the county’s elections chief for 14 years over the course of 3 1/2 terms. She became the Indian River County Supervisor of Elections in 1996, when she replaced then-elections chief Ann Robinson.

 Originally published Nov. 17 at 8:03 a.m.

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