Candidate Q&A: Rick Loughery, candidate Recorder of Deeds

EDITOR’S NOTE — The Times asked the 2015 candidates for Chester County county-wide office to answer a serious of questions relative to their campaign and office, as well as their personal background. Wanting to give each candidate a direct, unfiltered, option to communicate with the voters, these responses are not edited nor abridged in any way.

By Rick Loughery, Candidate Chester County Recorder of Deeds


Rick Loughery

1. Whether you are an incumbent, or a challenger, what prompted you to seek public office?

Born and raised in Chester County, I have always known that we live in a very special community.  Our citizens are deeply invested in the success of our county and, like many of us, I have a passion for serving our community.  As a volunteer with local organizations and as a public official, I am truly dedicated to the success of our county and the security of its future. 

2.  Can you describe an achievement in your professional or elective life that you are especially proud of, and why?

In 2012, I established the Chester County Veterans ID & Discount program which provides a special photo-ID honoring our local heroes.  I have recruited over 100 businesses to offer discounts to our veterans through this program.  Free to our veterans, the program recognizes their service and sacrifice in a meaningful way.  We also connect our veterans to agencies that provide support with benefits and other important resources.  Throughout my term as Recorder of Deeds, I’ve met numerous local heroes who have shared their war stories with me. These accounts continue to remind me how incredibly fortunate I am to live in a country where so many individuals have sacrificed so much for my freedom.  I have even been told that this program is the first time some have been personally recognized for their military service, which makes me proud of the effort that my staff and I have put into it.  Over the next four years, my goal is to improve and expand this program in their honor.

3.  Talk about a difficult decision you’ve had to make, how you went about it and what the outcome was.

When I took office, I began to receive calls from homeowners inquiring about their mortgages.    Even though they had paid their mortgage, they were facing foreclosure from banks they had not previously dealt with.  It all led back to MERS, a mortgage electronic recording system setup privately by some of the nation’s largest banks to circumvent my office.  My office’s primary purpose is to protect the integrity of our real estate records, allowing you to buy and sell property in Chester County with confidence.   Without a public record in my office of who holds your mortgage, confidence in property ownership is uncertain.  Property owners receiving foreclosure notices said they were never notified that MERS had traded their mortgage internally to a different bank, and the banks failed to record mortgage reassignments with my office as required by law.  As the last line of defense for homeowners, I made the difficult decision to file a lawsuit against these banks for circumventing the law and eroding confidence in our public land records.  I am demanding that the banks record every mortgage reassignment with my office and to recover funds the county lost due to this unlawful action.  We now patiently await our time in court.

4. As not all Row Offices are as self explanatory as District Attorney or Sheriff, can you, briefly, explain the duties of the office you seek?

The Recorder of Deeds is the repository for real estate documents located in Chester County.  My office processes and maintains the official records of deeds, mortgages, mortgage satisfactions, mortgage reassignments, powers of attorney, UCCs, pipeline easements, subdivision plans, notary and elected official commissions, as well as other documents.  Our records are pubic and date from 1680 to the present; all have been reduced to digital images.  Additionally, the Recorder is the legal custodian of military discharges for veterans living in Chester County, which are the only non-public records in my office.

5. What qualities do you feel make you the best candidate for that job?

With my Masters in Public Administration, and now as a candidate for my Doctoral degree, I have both the practical and educational backgrounds to serve effectively in this position.  As an innovative person, I like to think outside of the box when faced with a challenge, which has proven helpful when crafting budgets and developing policies.  My experience working in county government has taught me that working as a team is also important, which is why I established a working relationship with the District Attorney’s office for my anti-fraud initiative to increase preventative and protective measures against real estate fraud.  Additionally, I have worked with partners in the real estate industry to improve customer service in my office, adopting credit card transactions and seeking input from those in the private sector who depend on my office’s effective operation.  

6. What do you feel are the most important issues in your race?

The Recorder of Deeds is an important office which interfaces on a regular basis with the real estate industry, legal community, municipal, county and state governments, and our taxpayers.  Its function is critical to the financial security of home and property owners across Chester County, so it is imperative to maintain experienced and quality leadership in the office.    

7. Is there anything else that you would like the people of Chester County to know about you?

My office has adopted sound business practices while fulfilling its mission to our citizens.  Over the past four years, my staff and I have provided quality customer service, installed a new, high-tech recording system, expanded electronic recording, increased security for homeowners and enhanced financial benefits for taxpayers.  Over the next four years, I plan to serve the county by leading an office which continues to build on these accomplishments, supports our veterans and contributes to the effective operation of our county government. 

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