State auditor candidate visits campus

Dirk Umbanhowar, Staff Writer

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Decorah native Rob Sand, a democrat running for the position of state auditor of Iowa, talked at a meet and greet hosted by Luther College Democrats Thursday, April 26 in Olin 101.

Students, family, and Decorah citizens were in attendance, including Iowa house candidate Kayla Koether.

During his talk, Sand frequently referenced his Decorah upbringing. Sand was born and raised in Decorah and was known in high school for advocating for the city to build a skate park. He graduated from Decorah High School in 2001 and attended Brown University. Sand said Decorah largely made him who he is today.

“Growing up in the city of Decorah was a huge influence on my life,” Sand said. “I would tell anyone who I met that if you want to understand me, you should come see a small town in Iowa. There’s so much about it that fundamentally defines me: the community, caring about your neighbors, outdoor ethic, and every time I come back here I just feel better.”

Sand also said that a number of his family members attended Luther, connecting him to the college.

“Both my parents are Luther grads, and nine out of the twelve Sand cousins are Luther grads, so besides myself and my sister, it’s really the family’s school,” Sand said. “I went swimming here when I was little, I took summer programs and an anthropology class here, as well as sneaking onto the roof of the CFL sometimes with my friends.”

Before running for state auditor, Sand was named the Assistant Attorney General in 2010 under the Attorney General Tom J. Miller in which he spent 18 months investigating and prosecuting tax credit fraud related to Iowa’s filmmaking tax credit program. Rob later went on to lead the nationwide lottery-fixing investigation that uncovered seven fixed lottery tickets across five states. During this time, he prosecuted multiple people from both parties. Sand prides himself on being non-partisan.

Sand also criticized the current state auditor Republican Mary Mosiman for failing to catch misspending, displaying a lack of interest on the board, and comments that she has made about the budget. His disapproval in what is going on in the office is a major reason why Sand chose 2018 to run for the office.

“The current state auditor refuses to hire people with law enforcement experience,” Sand said. “She only hires accountants and CPAs. It’s like having 11 quarterbacks playing on the same offense. It doesn’t work well.”

Overall, Sand made a great impression amongst students who were there, including President of Luther College Democrats Alex Sekora (‘19), who said that he learned a lot about the state auditor’s position.

“[There are] a lot of tasks that I did not realize the state auditor did, so it was good to learn more about that,” Sekora said. “Rob also has many great ideas about how the state auditor can be doing their job better, which is necessary considering the problems in the office now with the current office-holder. Overall, I enjoyed hearing what Rob had to say.”

Sand’s campaign has raised nearly double what the current state auditor made during her 2014 campaign. While it’s not all about the money, senior political science major and LC Dems member Geoffrey Dyck (‘18) said that Sand has a good chance of pulling off a win in November.

“I think Sand has a really good chance to win,” said Dyck. “He seems to be practical and unbiased when it comes to prosecuting people who have broken the law. This is extremely important for the auditor to do.”

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