Saturday, September 30, 2006

Knox Ross for Mississippi State Auditor?

I have talked to my political contacts in Rankin County and I have been informed Knox Ross is thinking of running for State Auditor on the Republican ticket next year. As a CPA and a mayor of a small town (Pelahatchie), he has the credentials to be an excellent State Auditor.

Here are the things working in his favor:

1. He is a CPA. The last time a CPA was State Auditor was when Hamp King held the post. He left in 1984. Since then, ambitious politicians have served in the post. Ross knows what constitutes a good audit and would be very effective as a State Auditor.

2. He has electoral experience. He is in his second term as mayor. Being a mayor of a small town (1100 people ain't big.), he would have hands-on experience on city financial matters. He would already understand a lot of the municipal financial and other governmental sector financial audits.

3. Being a CPA in Pearl, I know people who know him. They think very highly of him. Unlike the extremely arrogant pretty-boy Phil Bryant, Ross would be down to earth and easy to talk with. People tell me he is very polite and humble. They also tell me he knows his taxes and accounting.

4. If he is elected State Auditor, I think he will stay in that position and not use it as a
stepping stone for higher office. Hamp King never ran for higher office and he was one of the most respected public officials the state has ever had.

Nevertheless, he faces hurdles. First of all, he has no name recognition. Even in Rankin County, not many know him. Pelahatchie is on the far eastern tip of the county, far away from the urban areas. I know who he is, but I'm a political and accounting junkie.

Secondly, he will be running against a "name" candidate in the GOP primary: State Sen. Stacy Pickering. He is related to Congressman Chip Pickering and the Congressman's father, Charles Pickering. The Pickerings have money and contacts. Look for them to use them to help Stacy. And don't think Stacy is going to stay on for more than a term or two as State Auditor. He'll have other political ambitions.

Third, Ross is going to need money. Ross, like me, is a small-town CPA. He doesn't have the coins to finance his own campaign. He's going to need some big donors to help him. At least Ross is from GOP-rich in votes Rankin County. Rankin County casts between 15% to 25% of the GOP vote in a state Republican primary.

When I vote in the primary, I'll definitely vote for Ross (if Ross runs). If the State Attorney General's office requires an attorney to serve in that post, shouldn't the State Auditor's position require a CPA to serve in that post? Ross would not only know what is going on as a State Auditor when it comes to audits, he also wouldn't use it as a political post.

Ross is not a pretty-boy blow-dried politician. But he is intelligent, hard-working, honorable and has the qualifications to be an excellent State Auditor. He would be great for the state if he was elected to that post.