Burrage asserts credentials, professionalism in Auditor & Inspector race

Auditor & Inspector Steve BurrageIn an interview on Tuesday
(October 12) with CapitolBeatOK, Oklahoma  was asked what he considered the three key issues in the
November 2 election.

Burrage, a Democrat running for the first time, responded: “The three
key issues in the race for Auditor are qualifications, running an
efficient and effective office, and being professional not political
with this important office. 

“The voters have told me they want someone who is qualified to serve as
State Auditor and has the work experience to back it up. I bring over 35
years of accounting, auditing, and banking experience to the office. I
graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in accounting,
passed the CPA exam, and become a partner in a CPA firm. Later I took
over a failing small town bank and turned it into one of the most
respected and successful small town banks its size in the state. I have
taken the many proven successful business practices I have learned
throughout my career and implemented them in the Auditor’s office
helping the office perform more effectively and efficiently than ever

“Second, voters want someone who will run the State Auditor’s office in
an effective and efficient manner.  When I first stepped into the office
I found a political dumping ground. I have gotten rid of all the
‘political deadwood’ and now have a staff full of qualified
professionals. If you’re going to work for me and the taxpayers in this
office, you are going to be qualified. I also inherited a backlog of
audits. To solve this problem I have implemented the use of new software
that helps speed up the audit process. This new technology has been
helping us catch up on the inherited backlog of audits and it has made
the audit process as a whole more efficient for all future audits.

“Third, voters want someone who will always remain professional and who
will not give in to political pressure. I was appointed straight out of
the private sector and consider myself to be a businessman, not a
politician. As a member of the American Institute of Certified Public
Accountants I adhere to a strict professional code of conduct which I
very seriously apply to my job as State Auditor. That code of conduct
focuses on Independence, Integrity, and Judgment.”

Burrage, seeking election in his own right after coming into the office
as a result of Governor Brad Henry’s appointment, continued, “I will
never sacrifice my Independence, Integrity, or Judgment for anyone or
anything. I have experienced political pressure during some of my
audits, but I always go back to my professional code of conduct and
choose the professional and ethical action even when it is not
‘politically smart.’  When I conduct an audit I go in with my eyes wide
open and report exactly what is found because that is what the tax
payers demand and deserve.”

Burrage, who began 2010 with audits of public school districts which he touted as demonstrative of "fraud, waste, and abuse", is trailing Republican nominee Gary Jones
in recent public opinion surveys. The SoonerPoll released in Sunday’s
editions of the Tulsa World found Burrage at 35%, behind 41% for the
Republican, Gary Jones. However, 24% of the electorate remained

The Burrage campaign began a series of television advertisements in
recent days, assailing the Republican over his clashes with politicians
when he was county commissioner in Comanche County. Jones has vigorously
defended himself against the assertions in Burrage’s advertisements.

Veteran state analyst Mike McCarville wrote this week on his blog: “The
attack commercial is a high-risk strategy by Burrage; not well known to
voters, he runs the risk of defining himself as a political

On Tuesday, CapitolBeatOK asked Burrage if he had the resources to
reverse the trend in the latest opinion surveys and win the election. He
responded, “I believe we’ve made the right decisions with how to spend
our resources. And once the voters are informed about my opponent and
myself, I feel they will vote for me on November 2nd.”

Burrage was asked why voters should retain him in the job and not go
with a guy who has run two strong prior races.  He answered, “Voters
should vote for me on November 2nd because I am passionate about working
hard for the taxpayers – I want to ensure that their hard-earned tax
dollars are spent properly — free of waste, fraud and abuse.

“During my time as State Auditor and Inspector, I have already uncovered
millions of dollars in waste, fraud, and abuse across the state – I
want to continue my work on behalf of the taxpayers with another term in
office. I am running to ensure that the office is held to the high
level of accountability and professionalism that the taxpayers demand
and deserve. During my time as State Auditor and Inspector I have gotten
rid of all the unqualified political hires in the office and have
brought together a staff of qualified professionals — I want to
continue this level of professionalism I have established in the
Auditor’s office.”

Burrage concluded, “Not only is my staff highly qualified and
professional, so am I – in addition to my two years in this office, I
bring over 35 years of experience in accounting, auditing, and banking
and I am the first CPA to serve as State Auditor in 30 years.”