Longtime state Senate Appropriations chair Buck Clarke is running for State Treasurer and sat down with Y’all Politics to discuss what qualifies him for the job and what he hopes to achieve if elected.
Senator Clarke touted his accounting business acumen and longtime service with the State Legislature as his advantages.
“I have a financial background, I’m a CPA… I still have a tax business and come from a family of accountants,” said Clarke. “For the last 16 years I’ve been a Senator, and the last 8 of that I’ve been the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.”
The Senate Appropriations Committee considers the budgets of state agencies each year. Agencies come before the Legislature to discuss what budgets they will need for the upcoming fiscal year. The Appropriations committee then considers those bills before they go to the chamber floors for a vote.
“It’s one of the two largest committees,” said Clarke. “The finance committee borrows and spends money… I get to set the budget.”
Clarke said that in that time, he’s had to meet with every state executive director with every state agency about their budget, their personnel, and their operating costs as part of this process. The State Treasurer is on the management end of the budgets for those agencies once the budget is approved by the Legislature.
The Treasurer also sits on the bond commission, which attracts and approves new businesses coming into the State.
“It (the process of bringing new business into the state) almost always has a bond bill, it’s almost always a bond issue because we’re going to build some infrastructure,” said Clarke. “Even after it has passed the Legislature, it still has to go before the bond commission.”
At that point, the Treasurer, Governor and Attorney General vote on the bond issues at hand for the incoming business.
Clarke said his relationships on both sides of the aisle will help him to be a more active Treasurer if elected.
“You can look back on the appropriations bills in the last 8 years,” said Clarke. “There are bills going into Senate districts that Democrats hold. So you’re not looking at the person playing party politics that holds that district, it is looking at what are the needs. I’ve sat down with all of them at some point… the Senate works really well together.”
Senator Clarke faces opponent David McRae in the primary election on August 6.