MANCHESTER- State Senator Vincent Illuzzi recently visited the Manchester Journal to discuss the issues and explain the reasons behind his decision to run for Vermont State Auditor.

The elected office is currently held by Thomas Salmon, who is stepping down after serving two terms. He was first elected in 2008.

Illuzzi has an extensive amount of experience in Vermont's government. In 1980, he was elected as a member of the Vermont State Senate at 27 years old, the youngest ever elected in the state since it was created in 1836. He served for 32 years, second in seniority to Senator Bill Doyle. He currently holds office at Essex County State's Attorney, where he was first elected in 1998. Illuzzi is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Vermont Law School and is a member of the Assembly of Overseers of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

"It's not just about the numbers, but lets talk about the numbers," said Illuzzi. "I've served in the Senate for 32 years, for 26 years I served on the money committees. I served for six years on the Senate Finance Committee, which deals with revenue. I served for 16 years as chair of the Senate Institutions Committee. I have played an integral role in the financing of state government."

Illuzzi's experience is why he believes he is the best candidate for the job and his knowledge of local government will prove vital.

"Anytime you are auditing the efficiency of the program department or agency, you first have to understand how it works and what its mission or goal is," he said, "and based on 32 years of experience I have helped to create and fund many of the programs, departments, and agencies and so I have a first hand grasp of why the programs are created, how they are funded, and what the goal is. As auditor I can ensure that the recommendation that come out of that office will promote efficiency and the very best use of tax dollars to accomplish the intended objectives."

Illuzzi also knows a thing or two about the federal government and how people are starting to feel towards Washington D.C., he said.

"The problem we have in Washington right now is that ideology gets in the way of solving common problems and finding common solutions. I have demonstrated over 32 years that is not the way you become an effective legislature," he said.

Illuzzi is referring to his bi-partisianship and how the federal government seems to be worried about party first and the people later.

"I think why I can shine as [state auditor] is that I have developed positive relationships of trust with everyone from the Governor on down to the front-line employee at the Agency of Transportation, or Human Services, or Environmental Conservation and I have been endorsed by the Vermont State Employees Association, the Vermont Troopers Association, and the Vermont NEA among others."

Illuzzi said he believes efficiency is key, and that performance audits need to be looked at closely.

"With the state auditor's office, with the way it has evolved, particularly since 2008, there are two basic functions," he said. "One are the financial audits, one is a comprehensive financial audit, but equally important are performance audits where they will go to a program, department, or agency and try to find out if the program is being run as intended by the general assembly, as efficiently as possible, and weather it is making a difference in the lives of working Vermonters."

Those working Vermonters include those in school districts and Illuzzi plans on taking a closer look on how the state can spend its money more efficiently toward them.

"I'm not aware of any crying need to audit school districts," he said, "but it is a significant expenditure of state funds and if there is some indication that we can spend that money more efficiently certainly we would target two or three communities and use them as representative samples of how we can improve expenditures on a system-wide basis."

The main goal is to improve on what we have. Illuzzi's commitment is just that, "My motto always has been 'we can always do better'."

Illuzzi is running against Doug Hoffer, of Burlington, the nominee of the Democratic and Progressive Parties, and Jerry Levy, of Brattleboro, who is running as the nominee of the Liberty Union Party.