First is the least glamorous of the decisions to be made, state auditor. The current state auditor website has a mission statement that reads:
"The purpose of the Office of the Utah State Auditor is to help ensure to Utah's citizenry, legislature, government officials, and other financial information users the financial integrity and accountability of Utah's state and local governments. Our purpose is accomplished by providing independent and innovative audits and investigations, and by monitoring and advising Utah's state and local governments. Our work has helped Utah to be recognized as having financially strong and well-run state and local governments."
Our current auditor, Austen Johnson, has been the auditor for years. He's got a lot of experience and does what he considers important happening with the current resources he has. He has made it pretty clear that he will keep doing what he has been doing if he has been re-elected. My take is that the current office is heavier on the "monitoring" and less on the "advising". In a speech I attended last week the incumbent mentioned that he was "working with" the legislature on the best way to get the information to them. He talked about a conversation he had on creating reports about the reports that were not being addressed. My opinion is that he should not be a "yes" man and do what is asked -- but hold the legislature accountable rather than helping them gloss over the information more.
John Dougall takes the opposite approach. Not only will what gets audited change, but advisement will be a more primary role in his job. I tend to agree with him more and will likely be voting for him. He also has a sense of humor and doesn't take himself too seriously. In the video below I very much appreciate his stance on the auditor's job being to gather data to help the legislature make better decisions. He has also been 10 years in the state legislature.
There is some concern that Dougall is not a CPA. I think that leadership can and should be the primary job of this elected official, as long as the conceptual understanding is there on what the job is supposed to do. I feel similarly for the attorney general's office -- that leadership is the most important qualification rather than the actual on the ground experience. It remains to be seen if changing the direction of this elected office is a good change. I currently support this change and will be voting for John Dougall. Both men are capable and I believe will do good things for the office.
State Attorney General is the next race. This is the one I am not fully decided on. Both candidates are lawyers -- one a trial lawyer and one a pseudo-lobbyist manager lawyer. I like what the current AG office is doing and I think they are going in a good direction. Keeping John Swallow (who already works for the AG office) would continue things down the current route. Sean Reyes will likely shake things up quite a bit. This seems to be a career move for both parties so it's harder for me to judge. I think both have their merits. I am leaning towards Sean Reyes, but I have concerns with leadership and being too close to the metal with him. I am concerned about the allegations of outright lying and shady dealing of John Swallow. It has been a very heated campaign.
Apologies, I couldn't find an independent review that was just John Swallow that wasn't a campaign video. Those are easily found on youtube if you'd like more.
Lastly, I'd like to briefly go over my feelings for the senate race. Last Thursday I heard a representative for Hatch and Dna Lilenquist speak at Spanish Fork High school. Just before we sat down I got to meet Dan and he mentioned that the best thing that has happened to his campaign was Sen. Hatch's representative. This turned out to be true that evening.
I am probably biased in this particular race. Senator Hatch is no friend to technology or intellectual property. he is the primary reason I got into politics -- my senator doing crazy things (not just voting for, but sponsoring over and over!) that I disagreed with. I voted against him last term 6 years ago though I knew it would not matter at the time. This time I think Someone has stepped up that can represent Utah better than Hatch. I'll post a 90 minute debate that happened before the republican nominees were voted for by our local representatives (before the primary). It's worth skipping around in and listening to.
There is always more but I'm well past the time I've had. Good luck voting this go-around!