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State Auditor Challenger's View: Minnesotans need auditor to protect hard-earned tax dollars

From the column: "Minnesotans want to know that they have an unbiased, qualified watchdog investigating financial scandals when they arise. They want someone who will shine a light on fraud, waste,

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Republican state auditor candidate Ryan Wilson
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Over the last four years Minnesota has been plagued by some of the largest financial scandals in its history. The child and daycare fraud scandal was estimated at $72 million. The more recent child-food fraud scandal has been reported as high as $200 million. In the Twin Cities, the true costs of the delayed Southwest Light Rail project were hidden from the public. The project is now more than $1 billion over its original budget and seven years behind schedule.

These are major scandals that have occurred in whole or in part during the tenure of current Democratic State Auditor Julie Blaha. The incumbent has been largely silent on all three of these massive instances of fraud, waste, and abuse of our tax dollars.

From the column: "Since I took office, the Office of the State Auditor found more than $4 million in local government fraud and assisted law enforcement in the prosecution of wrongdoers."

It’s time for a new state auditor. I’m running to serve as an impartial, qualified, and committed watchdog over Minnesotans’ tax dollars.

I’m a lifelong Minnesotan. I founded a Minnesota-based company that specialized in auditing clinical trials for medical-device companies and grew it into a global leader in its field. I received my undergraduate, masters of business administration, and law degrees from Minnesota schools. My wife and I are raising our five children in Maple Grove. I coach Little League baseball, and I’m an active member of my community. I’ve been appointed as a planning commissioner and serve as a board member for several nonprofits that serve youth.

I believe in the greatness of Minnesota, and I’m running to be your next state auditor to help create a better Minnesota by bringing transparency and accountability back to government.

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As I travel the state and meet with Minnesotans from Cottage Grove to Cloquet and Bemidji to Belle Plaine, I hear a common question: “Where does our money go?” People want to understand where $73 billion in federal COVID-relief funding went. They know it was allocated somewhere through some agency, nonprofit, or local government but want to know if it made a difference. They want to know if the money for schools is making it to classrooms or being siphoned elsewhere. They want to know if public-safety budgets are being spent on police and making the streets safer.

The writer of this letter is the Republican candidate for Minnesota state auditor. The News Tribune is allowing his rebuttal in the interest of fairness and complete accuracy.

Minnesotans want to know that they have an unbiased, qualified watchdog investigating financial scandals when they arise. They want someone who will shine a light on fraud, waste, and abuse. Minnesotans want a state auditor who will answer the questions that matter to them and who will stand up and protect both their tax dollars and the programs those dollars are meant to support. Because when fraud and waste occur, it doesn’t just hurt our checkbooks, it hurts those most in need. When a program intended to feed children is defrauded, it means that food is taken from a child’s mouth. We must protect these programs so that we can protect the neediest among us.

The state auditor also oversees our public pensions and approves mining leases. Past DFL state auditors have voted against issuing mining leases, and the current state auditor has politicized the investment of our pensions. When I’m state auditor, I will take partisan politics out of the office and do what’s best for all Minnesotans.

Minnesotans need a state auditor who will look out for their interests without politicizing the office, who will not be afraid to ask the tough questions that governments are sometimes unwilling to answer, and who will get the answers that Minnesotans are demanding.

I will fight for Minnesotans every day, and I would appreciate your vote.

Ryan Wilson of Maple Grove is the Republican candidate for Minnesota state auditor. He wrote this for the News Tribune at the request of the Opinion page.

Related Topics: FRAUDELECTION 2022
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