Dr. Stan Cooke, a pastor, is in the Republican runoff for State Auditor on June 21.
On Wednesday, 1819 News spoke with Cooke to discuss his motivation for running.
“The number one reason is to make certain that we have accountability and trust in that office and that it operates under its constitutional authority,” Cooke stated. “I want to make sure that I hold every politician and officeholder accountable in order to restore the people’s trust in government.”
Cooke feels the legislature has limited that ability, saying, “Democratic governors and Democratic state legislatures have chipped away at the responsibilities and powers of the State Auditor’s office into what it is today.
“I want to bring back integrity into government. Integrity, accountability and transparency are on the ballot in the runoff race for the state auditor’s position.”
Cooke said he is very concerned about transparency.
“The State Auditor’s office is the only office that gives the voter and taxpayer a window of transparency to look through and examine how the state government uses their tax dollars,” Cooke said. “I promise the citizens of Alabama and I will hold every politician and bureaucrat accountable for the way that they use the taxpayers’ money and property.”
Cooke believes his business experience qualifies him for this position.
“I am the only candidate in this race with 20 years of experience in inventory control and property management with companies such as Fisher Scientific, Immediate Business Systems and Medical Laboratory Associates,” Cooke said. “Inventory control and property management is the main job of the State Auditor’s office. I also have 35 years of administrative experience in both the secular business world and the religious business world managing multiple staffs that are both paid staff members and volunteer staff members. This administrative experience has allowed me to learn how to deal with people effectively in moving businesses, religious institutions, and programs forward in a positive manner.”
In addition to maintaining property inventories on all items owned by state government worth $500 or more, the State Auditor appoints one of the three members of the board of registrars in every county in Alabama, other than Jefferson County.
Cook said, “I also pledge that when it comes to replacing the board of registrars members in each county that I will only select constitutional conservative Republicans to fill those positions, and I will consult with each County Republican party and related groups in the selection process when replacing a board of registrars member.
“Through the years, Democrat governors and legislators have diminished the role of the state auditor's office to the demise of accountability and transparency in our state government. It will be my goal to strengthen the State Auditors office and expand the role of the office and its responsibilities so that the citizens of Alabama can be served with the highest level of integrity.”
Cooke said that the auditor’s office has become “the whipping boy of state government. They created multiple unelected bureaucracies to do what the elected auditor originally did.
“The Republican Party should work to undo the mistakes of decades of Democrat rule and restore the powers of the State Auditor."
Cooke would like to see the Office of Examiners of Public Accounts merged back under the State Auditor, as it was before 1939.
“You would save more money by eliminating all the top salaries of bureaucrats at the Examiner’s office,” he explained.
State Sen. Andrew Jones (R) in the last session introduced a controversial constitutional amendment to abolish the State Auditor. That failed in the Alabama House of Representatives.
“That would only save the $85,000 the Auditor makes,” Cooke said. “Folding the Examiners under the Auditor would eliminate all the top salaries there and save the state hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Cooke is a pastor at the Kimberley Church of God in Jefferson County.
The eventual winner of the Republican nomination will face Libertarian Leigh Lachine in the Nov. 8 general election. There is no Democratic candidate currently qualified for the position.
Current State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) is term-limited from running for a third term and is instead running for Alabama Secretary of State.
To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email brandon.moseley@1819News.com.
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