Richard Eckstrom’s consistent and effective efforts on behalf of open government and state government reform give voters more than enough reason to re-elect him.
Many politicians talk about government transparency. Few elected officials have done as much as Eckstrom to actually achieve transparency. The comptroller general advocated putting state agency checkbooks online so voters could see how the state is spending its money. When the agencies balked, Eckstrom did it for them. He then started to work on local governments and has assisted more than 30 cities and counties in putting their finances online.
The comptroller general also serves on the Budget and Control Board. Eckstrom has consistently pushed and voted for necessary reforms on the board. The comptroller general is charged with being the state’s chief accountant and financial monitor. Eckstrom has gone beyond that role to push the changes needed in this state. He created a unified accounting system for state agencies that consolidated 74 separate systems, eliminating redundancy and enhancing efficiency.
Eckstrom, the Republican candidate, is opposed by Democrat Robert Barber. A Charleston restaurateur, Barber ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor four years ago.
Barber says he would push the Budget and Control Board to be more discriminating when it makes mid-year budget cuts rather than cutting all state agencies by the same amount, but the board is limited by law to making across-the-board cuts.
Most of Barber’s campaign has revolved around distortions of Eckstrom’s record and personal life, culminating in television ads currently running. He has not provided a positive vision of what he would do with the office.
Eckstrom’s record is marked by his success in making government spending available to taxpayers. He deserves another term.