State auditor candidate wants reform

Published 10:50 am Thursday, May 13, 2010

With the current fiscal crisis at the state level, the next state auditor needs to be ready to not only be an active watchdog over the state’s finances but to also encourage reform of the state’s government from the top to the bottom. 

That’s the message former State Auditor Pat Anderson is spreading over the next few weeks during a whirlwind tour with media across the state. 

Anderson, the Republican-endorsed candidate for auditor this fall, stopped in Albert Lea Wednesday morning, after which she had plans to visit Minnesota Lake, Mankato and Faribault. She visited Rochester earlier in the week, and next week she plans to head to the southeast corner of the state. 

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“We’re broke and we’re going to be even more broke in the next cycle,” she said. “Whoever comes in during the next term is going to have to make some big changes.”  

Having served as state auditor from 2003 through 2007, Anderson said she knows what it’s like to be a watchdog. She believes the position of state auditor is an important one within the state, especially when considering the current financial state of Minnesota. 

“I think one thing about me, I understand the issues, and I can bring people together and get things done,” Anderson said. “I think that’s been lacking.”

She said if she’s elected to office, one of her main goals for her first year is to sit down with the major state leaders and help redesign government. 

Anderson said: “The auditor should work hand-in-hand with local governments to fend off looming problems as well as develop solutions to improve ongoing local government operation including LGA reform, reducing state mandates and school district finance equitability.”

She said she thinks decisions are best made at the local level, not at the state or federal levels. 

The auditor should also be a watchdog over pension funds, she noted. 

“When elected and sworn in, the auditor has a duty and obligation to protect and to help all Minnesotans using every tool available,” she said. “It is an honor to be entrusted with this by the people of Minnesota and something I take very seriously.” 

Anderson said she thinks people are looking for a conservative with common sense, who can get things done, provide solutions and can be fiscally responsible. Anderson said she decided to run the position again because she loves the job.

She most recently worked as the president of the Minnesota Free Market Institute, which she resigned from last year to campaign for office. 

She has  served as the commissioner of the Department of Employee Relations, a state agency which has since been merged into another agency. 

She has also served on the Eagan City Council and as mayor of Eagan. 

She is married and has six children.