Despite it’s important work — tasked with providing accountability to the taxpayers of Alabama by maintaining accurate records of all personal property valued at $500 and above, as well as items deemed sensitive in nature. As well as serving as only check and balance between the Comptroller’s Office and the State Treasury — the State Auditor’s office rarely finds itself in the spotlight.
Nevertheless it’s an important job with three Republican candidates, along with a lone Democrat, seeking to fill the position during this year’s elections.
Today’s candidate spotlight features one of the Republican candidates — the sitting State Auditor, Jim Zeigler. Zeigler has held the position since 2015 when he defeated Miranda Joseph, the Democratic Party nominee, in the general election.
Here Zeigler is in his own words:
- Significant other? How long married? Kids? Wife, Jackie Zeigler. She was elected in 2016 to represent Alabama’s first district on the State Board of Education. Married 25 years. Jackie is an award-winning retired elementary school principal. Two children. James “Win” Zeigler, 22, has completed the drone pilot program at University of South Alabama. Daughter Mary Magdalene “Maggie” Zeigler, 19, is a freshman at University of Alabama.
- Education background? Professional background? BS in Public Administration, University of Alabama. (Useful degree for a State Auditor). JD in Constitutional Law, Jones Law School of Faulkner University. (Useful degree for an advocate for taxpayers)
- What was your first job before college/adulthood and after? Before: Janitor of the famous Student Union Building of University of Alabama during my freshman and sophomore years. After: Investigative reporter, The Daily Home, Sylacauga-Talladega, Alabama.
- In 25 words or less, why are you running for office? I have a plan to turn the State Auditor’s office into a watchman against government mismanagement and waste. It is starting to work.
- Did you speak with anybody in your political party before deciding on running? Receive any encouragement? From whom? Rev. John Killian.
- Who do you count on for advice besides significant other or clergy? Hope Curry Scarborough, my assistant State Auditor
- Who is your political consultant? Campaign manager? John Wahl, Limestone County, Alabama
- Who was the first person to contribute to your campaign? Why did they donate? Myself, to pay the qualifying fee.
- Who, if anyone, inspires you in state government? State Supreme Court Justice Will Sellers.
- Why do people mistrust elected officials and what are you going to do about it? Too many officials run for office saying one thing and then do another when in. I am doing exactly what I said and am holding others accountable.
- What are 3 specific policy positions that you’re running on? (Please don’t simply say “education” or “improving the schools”)
- Reduce mismanagement and waste in government.
- Develop the State Auditor’s office into a watchman for the public.
- Solve Alabama’s infrastructure problems using funds already on hand but now being diverted to other uses. (See next answer.)
- What is a “disruptive” issue (i.e. ride-sharing) you are interested in? Funding highway and bridge improvements. The funding is on hand but is being diverted to other projects. I am working on a plan to meet Alabama’s infrastructure needs with no new taxes. My “Plan Z” recaptures funds supposed to be used for roads and uses it as matching funds for the Trump trillion dollar infrastructure plan. “Plan Z” can eliminate congestion on I-65 and highway 280; finish improvements to “Bloody 98” in Mobile; refurbish unsafe bridges; and fund local road projects — all without tax increases.
- Name one current state law you would want repealed? Repeal the law requiring citizens to get a permit to exercise their constitutional right to keep and bear arms. I am for “constitutional carry.”
- Who was the best governor in Alabama’s modern history? Joking: Robert Bentley. He himself said he was the best governor “by far.”Seriously: Governor Lurleen Wallace. If she had not been taken from us prematurely by cancer, she could have achieved wonders. In the short time Lurleen Wallace was governor, she took the mental health system out of the dark ages.
- What will set you apart from other candidates in this race? I am naturally set apart from the other candidates by my plan to make the State Auditor a watchman for the taxpaying public. In three years on the job, the plan is starting to work.
- What’s the first thing you read each morning? My daily Bible reading.
- Where do you get your political news? Donald Trump tweets; Alabama Arise (more progressive counterpoint); ALToday.com
- Favorite TV series? Seinfeld
- Social media presence? Twitter handle? Facebook? Who posts you, campaign staff, combination
- In 140 characters, what’s a Tweet that best describes your campaign message. I have a plan to turn the State Auditor’s office into a watchman against government mismanagement and waste. It is starting to work. If re-elected, I can complete the job.
- Hobbies? The music and dancing I grew up with — the 1960s.
- Favorite sport and sports team? University of Alabama football. When I was President of the UA Student Government Association, I served on the Athletic Committee with Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.
With a little under two months until voters head to the ballots, AlabamaToday.com is inviting all candidates running for office in Alabama this year, to complete a questionnaire we believe offers an interesting, albeit, thumbnail sketch of who they are and why they are running. If you are a candidate and would like to complete the questionnaire, email Elizabeth@ALToday.com.