Earl K. Wood


He’s been the tax collector of Orange County since 1964. He’s 92.



 

Earl K. Wood
Earl K. Wood, on the job collecting taxes

I love my job and I wish I had 20 more years to see how this beautiful city is going to turn out. I’ve always had a positive attitude, and I’ve always stayed close to the people. That showed in this last election. I’ve enjoyed my work every single day.

I went to my credit union and borrowed $700 for my first race in 1964. My opponent was Jimmy Milligan, who was a very strong candidate. My goodness, I won that race and each one since for a total of 44 years.

The local tax collector is the closest official to the people. We do everything to serve the people, and we also issue driver’s licenses. We have one million cars registered in Orange County now. That’s why the roads are so clogged.

I was very much against computers. I didn’t think they were going to work. I remember the first ones they brought in. They said we were going to be paperless, but it didn’t work out that way. We have more paper now than we ever saw before.

In ’64 I was a lot younger. I was for change, but I was for good change.

Personally, I don’t use e-mail and the Internet. I do have a computer at home that I am going to hook up.

I don’t do anything to stay healthy. I eat fast food all the time. Those McMuffins are mighty good. My doctor said, ‘You’re doing fine. See you in about six months.’ I looked at a guy my age who came by jogging and sweating the other day, and I’m sitting on the porch rocking and waving at him. I just wondered how much is he adding to his life by doing that. I’ve been so blessed.

I have to be here [home] to take care of my wife, Miss Mary. We’ve been married 62 years. I get into the office three to four times a week.

I still dance the Shag and the Lindy. I love to fish.

I wish I were about 60, knowing what I know now. The last 30 years I should have bought property and saved more. Saving and good health are the keys to life.

We believe I am the longest-serving constitutional elected official in the nation for a county of this size. If I stay healthy and I can do the job, I just might run again. I have not made any decision on that.

 

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