State Auditor Candidates Call For More Audits, Better Staff Pay

There's not much difference between Stacey Pickering and Mike Sumrall when it comes to the issues in this election. Both believe the State Auditor's office should perform more audits in order to safeguard the taxpayers's money. And they both want to increase their staff and pay them more to bring in the best people possible to work for the state.

Stacey Pickering has represented Jones County in the state Senate for the last four years. He says with the state's economy growing and more Mississippians working, the state government needs to be more efficient and effective.

"What we've got to do is make sure local government is open, honest and transparent and will continue to invest their dollars here," Pickering said.

Mike Sumrall says he's the only candidate with an accounting degree in this race. He believes it's time Mississippi put someone with auditing experience in the State Auditor's office.

"That's been sadly missed in the last 30 years. Most of the people have chosen this as a stepping stone and they want to run for Governor or Lieutenant Governor in four years. I just want to be State Auditor," Sumrall said.

This is Sumrall's first run for elected office, but both candidates are relative newcomers to politics. Pickering was first elected to the state Senate in 2003.

by Jon Kalahar