Six candidates are vying to become California’s state comptroller

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — On June 7, California voters will choose the top two candidates to appear on the November ballot for multiple statewide races.

One race that is causing a buzz is the State Controller Race. Four Democrats, a Republican and a Green Party member are vying to become California’s next CFO.


What do you want to know

  • The State Comptroller is California’s Chief Financial Officer
  • Incumbent Betty Yee is fired and endorsed Democratic candidate Malia Cohen, chair of the California State Board of Equalization
  • The Los Angeles Times editorial board endorsed Republican nominee Lanhee Chen
  • Some of the comptroller’s duties include serving on 78 boards and commissions, writing checks, and performing independent audits of various state agencies.

Incumbent Betty Yee is fired, but has given Malia Cohen, president of the California State Board of Equalization, her blessing.

“I think what sets me apart in this race is that not only do I understand the numbers and the budget for the state of California, and how the budget impacts the county and local city budgets, but also as a policy maker,” Cohen said. said.

Prior to joining the Equalization Board, Cohen served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, where she chaired the budget and finance committee.

“Coming out of the pandemic, I think we need a very strong comptroller who will be a budget hawk – someone who will pay attention to how and where our tax dollars are spent – ​​paying particular attention to transparency,” Cohen said.

As controller, the San Francisco native says she would prioritize keeping fairness at the forefront of her job.

“Making sure we distribute all our public resources fairly, making sure lawyers and lobbyists don’t sway the political agenda, and that ordinary working people always have a seat at the table,” Cohen noted.

Some of the comptroller’s duties include serving on 78 boards and commissions, writing checks and performing independent audits of various state agencies – a position for which Republican candidate Lanhee Chen feels most qualified.

“Independence is really important. You have to have someone who will stand up for the taxpayers and not all other members of the government,” Chen explained. “And I think the challenge, when you keep electing the same kind of people, is that they end up taking care of each other.”

After earning four degrees from Harvard, including a doctorate in political science, the Southern California native returned to the Golden State to teach at Stanford University and work on public policy. The father of two has also worked for the Bush and Obama administrations.

“My background is in building cross-party relationships, understanding how to work with others who may not agree with me on issues, but fundamentally respecting my core principles: transparency, accountability and financial responsibility,” Chen said.

As California’s tax watchdog, Chen says he’d like to work on fixing state-run programs that aren’t working.

“Let’s tell people exactly where the money is going. Let’s detail the programs where we spend money and how that money is spent, and go a little deeper. Let’s evaluate the success of these programs,” he said. “I would love to give these programs a letter grade like our kids get letter grades in school.”

The other favorite is State Senator Steve Glazer, a Democrat who prides himself on being independent and standing up to interest groups.

“I’ve taken on the NRA to successfully ban assault weapons, I’ve taken on tobacco companies to ban their marketing to children, I’ve taken on PG&E over their wildfire fighting efforts that they caused,” Glazer said.

If elected, Glazer wants to challenge the implementation of government programs that have failed to improve some of the state’s most critical issues, such as homelessness.

“We’re spending about $12 billion on homelessness this year. Does anyone think we fix this problem? If not, why not? The comptroller is in a key place to dig deeper independently, without any obligation to the state administration or any interest group,” Glazer pointed out.

The 7-year-old senator and former mayor also worked in the private sector for 25 years running his own business.

“I have a track record of independence, transparency and financial accountability which I believe will serve me well in this job,” he added.

The other candidates in the running are Ron Galperin, Los Angeles city comptroller since 2013, Yvonne Yiu, mayor of Monterey Park and Laura Wells, Oakland financial analyst.

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