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Election 2012: Q&A With Auditor General Candidate Maher

State Rep. John Maher is also running unopposed in a re-election for his current House seat.

State Rep. John Maher (R-Upper St. Clair) is running for two offices this election.

He's running unopposed for state representative of the 40th District—an office he has held since 1997.

Maher is also seeking the auditor general seat currently occupied by Jack Wagner, who has reached his term limit. He will be squaring off against Frank Pinto of Harrisburg in the April 24 Republican primary.

Maher or Pinto will move on to face state Rep. Eugene DePasquale of York County, who is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination as auditor general.

Maher is an resident and a magna cum laude graduate of Duke University, with an B.A. degree in management sciences/accounting. He also completed scholarship studies at Oxford University and the Australian Graduate School of Management.

Patch caught up with Maher to get some important questions answered for voters:

Patch: Why are you running Pennsylvania auditor general and why should people vote for you?

Rep. John Maher: As a CPA (certified public accountant) for decades, I am actually licensed to do the job! I successfully audited dozens of governments as I built a CPA business from scratch, creating permanent jobs right here in western Pennsylvania. 

Pennsylvania deserves to have an auditor as auditor general. I am fiscal conservative and the only candidate who is a CPA, who is an experienced auditor and who has a proven track record of reforming government.

Patch: Why should you be re-elected as representative of the 40th Legislative District? What happens if you are elected auditor general?

Maher: I greatly appreciate the enthusiasm exhibited among my 60,000 bosses in Bethel Park, Upper St. Clair and . They have been a great source of strength as I have led fights to reform and overcome entrenched vested interests—writing the laws to regulate lobbyists and expand open records so you can hold politicians accountable. Sunlight is a great disinfectant! If elected auditor general, I will bring my determination and auditing skills to shine light and fight waste across Pennsylvania and the 40th District would choose a new representative. 

Patch: What are your thoughts on Marcellus shale drilling?

Maher: The auditor general must lead the effort to ensure that laws to regulate drilling and protect the environment are enforced. The tracking, oversight and enforcement systems inherited by this administration were dysfunctional and archaic. The auditor general should audit the new systems as soon as they are in place to ensure that the environment is protected.

Patch: Many local school districts are facing budget shortfalls right now. The 's superintendent has said it's because of less state funding and increasing pension costs. How do you propose the local school districts solve their budget problems? Is there anything you plan on doing that will help?

Maher: Actually, "state" funding of basic education by local school districts across the state increased this year from the year before. The federal government, however, eliminated a significant portion of federal funds that were disbursed to schools through the state. As a result, the total of federal and state funds received by most districts declined, even as the state portion increased. The auditor general is responsible for auditing all 500 school districts in the state. As an auditor general who actually knows how to audit, I will do my best to not just fight waste but also change the approach to help coach school districts about best practices.

Patch: What endorsements have you received?

Maher: I am endorsed by the Republican Party and many hundreds of elected officials and Republican committee members across the state. They agree that is makes sense to elect John Maher, the CPA for PA Auditor General!

Will you be voting for Rep. Maher for auditor general? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments.

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