The race for Mississippi State Auditor is heating up with both Republican Party candidates for the state watchdog office making visits to DeSoto County.
The G.O.P. candidates, in alphabetical order, for State Auditor are Mary Hawkins-Butler and incumbent State Auditor Stacey Pickering.
For the first time, Pickering has real opposition in the candidacy of Hawkins-Butler, the longtime mayor of the City of Madison.
Madison is the affluent suburb of the state capital of Jackson whose growth has mirrored DeSoto County in recent years.
“The Auditor’s Office is to ensure that tax dollars are properly spent,” Hawkins-Butler said. “the Auditor’s Office is a watchdog for our tax dollars. We must be diligent in protecting those tax dollars. We must hold everyone accountable. It’s important in local government that our clerks have proper training.”
Hawkins-Butler said she is dismayed at the perception nationally that Mississippi is among the most corrupt states in the nation.
“It is not acceptable to me that Mississippi is the most corrupt state in the nation due to Fortune Magazine,” Hawkins-Butler said.
That being said, Hawkins-Butler said that the state, local and county officials should respect the office, but not tremble in fear when the Auditor’s name is mentioned, or be unfairly or selectively targeted for investigation.
“We cannot be selective in who we audit,” Hawkins-Butler said. “We shouldn’t pick and choose and go after low-hanging fruit.”
“I’m not running for this office to be a stepping stone,” Hawkins-Butler said. “I’m not going to be running for Lieutenant Governor or Governor. There is a job to be done that is not being done.”