There is one statewide race that directly affects all the CPAs in the state and that is the race for State Auditor. I have carefully examined all of the candidates running and I have come to the conclusion only Mike Sumrall is qualified to fill that all-important position.
There has not been a State Auditor since W. Hamp King (1956-1984) with a degree in accounting (He also was a CPA.). Mike Sumrall is the only candidate running that has a degree in accounting (However, he is not a CPA.).
Sumrall worked in the State Auditor's office for 23 years, so he understand what goes on in an audit. He served as a senior auditor and headed the computer and information technology divisions. Until recently, he served as the Forrest County administrator and chief financial officer. He is not a lightweight when it comes to knowledge of government accounting rules and regulations. He also knows what it takes to do a thorough financial audit and come up with clean, accurate financial reports for the state, its agencies and the counties. Because he worked for a couple of CPA firms, he knows what CPAs are looking for in an audit and can "speak their language."
Because I'm a CPA, I did some investigating as to what kind of person he would be as State Auditor. The people who work in the State Auditor's office have a high regard for him. Terms they used were "knowledgable," "knows his stuff," "very friendly," "easy to work for," and "very hard-working." Right now, turnover in the State Auditor's office is an eye-popping 82%! It is hard to run an effective office when you have such high turnover. Since 1984, all the State Auditors have been politicians using the position as a step for higher office. Folks, that is twenty-four years of using an office for political agendas. It's not a partisan issue, since the State Auditors have been Democratic or Republican. The present State Auditor knows absolutely nothing about government accounting and auditing. Isn't it time there was someone who knew what he was doing?
For twenty-four years I have seen the State Auditor's office being used to launch the officeholder's political career. The office could go down the drain but what was important is building up that officeholder's political ambitions. Mike Sumrall is going to be a State Auditor and not a self-seeking politician. He will run the office in the tradition of Hamp King, whom most people consider to be the most qualified individual to serve as State Auditor. Sumrall will NOT be running for office other than re-election as State Auditor.
I know his running as a Democrat turn a lot of people off. Many Republicans think he is probably some liberal. Actually, he is very conservative. He is strongly pro-life. I have talked with him on the telephone and found him to be very friendly. He is staunchly conservative on the social and fiscal issues. Before you wonder why he didn't run as a Republican, it's because many of us believe we need staunch conservatives in the Democratic Party as well.
There have been a lot of scandals in private industry such as Enron and WorldCom because of lax accounting standards. Those two scandals alone cost shareholders billions of dollars. We need a watchdog when it comes to spending state, county and local monies. Mike Sumrall is the only candidate who can effectively run the State Auditor's office.