Earlier this year Guilford County Commissioner James Upchurch announced that he was running for the NC State Treasurer seat – however, Upchurch has changed course and decided to run for a different state office instead.
In a prepared statement, he wrote that, “After careful consideration and prayer, I have decided to shift from running for State Treasurer to State Auditor. This decision was not made lightly and was driven by my commitment to serving the people of our state in the most impactful manner possible.”
When Upchurch first announced his run for State Treasurer, he said he was seeking higher office because he had helped do the things he wanted to see done in Guilford County, like making the government more transparent and getting more money to the schools as well as helping High Point with its downtown renovation efforts.
Upchurch said this week that all that experience will help him in the role of state auditor.
“Throughout my tenure as a County Commissioner, I have consistently advocated for transparency and fiscal responsibility,” he wrote in a statement he provided to the Rhino Times after a Thursday, May 18 commissioners meeting. “Recent events in our community and throughout our state have led me to be increasingly concerned about the lack of transparency and accountability within our public schools and local governments.”
Here are some of the things Upchurch pointed to that he said he found “troubling”:
- The limited public access to school financial records.
- The inadequate oversight of school spending.
- The absence of accountability when local governments allocate funds to non-profit organizations affiliated with politicians, their acquaintances or their families.
Upchurch said these and other matters are “of the utmost seriousness” and that they “require immediate attention.”
He offered the following pledge to voters: “As State Auditor, I will have the authority to conduct comprehensive audits of our public schools. Through this authority, I will shed light on any financial irregularities and hold those responsible accountable for their actions. My unwavering dedication lies in ensuring that local governments and our public officials operate with transparency, accountability, and fiscal responsibility.”
His goal, he said, is to make North Carolina “a shining example of good governance, fiscal responsibility, and transparency.”
He added that he is ready to lead the charge, and he hopes state residents will join him in what he calls a very important fight.