On May 24, Republican voters in Alabama will choose a new nominee for State Auditor. Current State Auditor Jim Zeigler is unable to run again because of term limits. Zeigler is instead running this year for Alabama’s Secretary of State.
Several legislators have introduced bills to abolish the State Auditor’s office in the Yellowhammer State, including one this year by State Sen. Andrew Jones (R-Centre) which would transfer the duties of the office to the State Treasurer.
One current candidate for the State Auditor position said that’s a bad idea.
Thursday on WVNN’s “The Yaffee Program,” State Auditor candidate State Rep. Andrew Sorrell (R-Muscle Shoals) explained why he believed the Auditor’s office shouldn’t be abolished.
“I went, I researched the office,” he said. “I learned a lot more about it. I spent a lot of time talking to Jim Zeigler who’s our current Auditor, learning what the office does, and I came to the realization that we absolutely do not need to get rid of our State Auditor’s office. If anything we need to strengthen the State Auditor’s office. That’s the position I’ve taken all four years.”
Sorrell said keeping the office was one reason he decided to run for the position.
“I’m literally running for this position almost just trying to save it,” he explained, “because I do believe it’s a really valuable position for the taxpayers in Alabama.”
The lawmaker from Muscle Shoals also detailed how he wanted to strengthen the office.
“I want to give the auditor’s office some teeth,” he continued. “I want it to have some investigative power like they do in Mississippi. They have sworn-in investigators, and I want us to start holding people accountable that are stealing taxpayer money.”
Sorrell said it was time for the position to be more like it was originally intended under the Alabama State Constitution.
“Strengthen it is how we’re going to save it,” he said, “because once we make the office what is used to be, what it should be, then no one will want to eliminate it anymore. So let’s go back to the 1901 Alabama Constitution. The framers of our constitution thought the Auditor was so important that they put it fifth in line for the governor, and in fact it still is today, it’s ahead of the Secretary of State in the line for succession. That’s because back then the auditor had really important duties, not just tracking the state’s property, but actually doing the financial audits.”
Currently, there are three candidates running in the Republican primary for the position, including Sorrell, former State Sen. Rusty Glover and Jefferson County pastor Stan Cooke.