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Republican James Watkins to run for state auditor

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on March 16, 2012 at 7:00 am |
March 16, 2012 8:20 am

James Watkins

James Watkins, a Redmond Republican who ran for Congress in 2010, wants to replace Brian Sonntag when he steps down as state auditor.

Watkins filed for office this week, becoming the first Republican in a race that also includes two Democrats, state Sen. Craig Pridemore of Vancouver and state Rep. Mark Miloscia of Federal Way.

Watkins is a business development consultant who says he has led more than 150 performance audits in his career, which he cites as experience that makes him uniquely qualified for the job. He said he’s the “the only candidate running who actually does performance audits for a living.” (But Miloscia and Pridemore have auditing backgrounds, even if they no longer make livings at it.)

He promises to fight fraud and waste as auditor.

Watkins challenged U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee in 2010 and lost, despite raising questions that turned out to be prescient (on video here courtesy of the Times) about whether Inslee could really run for governor and serve in Congress at the same time.

Here’s his news release:

James Watkins Files to Replace Outgoing State Auditor Brian Sonntag

“Yesterday I officially filed to replace retiring Brian Sonntag as State Auditor,” announced James Watkins.  “In Washington, citizens count on the independently elected auditor to be their eyes and ears and I pledge to be “Your Watchdog in Olympia!”

“While the race to replace Brian is partisan, it shouldn’t be political,” said Watkins.  “This isn’t a job for a politician – it’s a job for a professional.  The state auditor doesn’t set government priorities and policy – that’s done by the legislature and governor.  The auditor makes sure that we get our money’s worth.  The way I figure it, while the voters may disagree on what the government should be doing, we can all agree that once a decision is made, taxpayers deserve a full dollar of value for every dollar of tax they pay.”

“I’m running to build on the record of government accountability, fiscal responsibility and open, effective government championed by outgoing State Auditor Brian Sonntag,” continued Watkins.  “With state government in yet another special session to deal with the ongoing financial crisis, maintaining an independent, effective state auditor must be a top priority for voters.”

Simply put, the citizens of Washington State are hiring a replacement for Brian Sonntag and Watkins has the background and experience to be the best choice.  He’s the only candidate running who actually does performance audits for a living – and has been an executive and principal consultant in professional services organizations with up to 600 employees.  He has the real world experience to drive real results.

In the 20 years since earning his MBA from George Washington University, Watkins has personally conducted or led teams completing more than 150 performance audits which analyzed and improved operations, technology, services, strategy, and revenue for his clients and employers.  He’s consistently delivered on the promise of increasing productivity AND reducing expenses.

“As state auditor, I pledge to work with the governor, the legislature and local governments across the state to deliver full value to the citizens of Washington,” concluded Watkins.

Watkins repeated his top three priorities:
  • I will identify and promote ways to increase government productivity and reduce costs.
  • I will fight fraud, waste and abuse.
  • I will be a champion for open and accountable government.
In 2010, Watkins ran a strong issues based campaign for the United States Congress in Washington’s 1st Congressional district as a fiscal conservative and good government candidate.  He earned his MBA in International Business and has over 20 years of experience as a business leader and entrepreneur.  He is a member of the Cascade Bicycle Club as well as an avid cyclist and motorcyclist.  He has been married to his wife Ashley for 27 years and they have two children.  They are active members of their church and community in Redmond, Washington.
More information is available at www.WatkinsForAuditor.com
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