Auditor hopefuls discuss issues

Friday, June 21, 2002

Republican Cape Girardeau County auditor candidates Matt Hopkins and David Ludwig discussed their views on issues ranging from party loyalty to sales tax revenue before the Cape Girardeau Pachyderm Club Thursday night at the Holiday Inn.

Ludwig, a former Jackson alderman, and Hopkins, a Cape Girardeau city councilman, are vying in the Aug. 6 primary election for the spot vacated by Republican H. Weldon Macke.

Macke, the first person elected county auditor, decided to retire instead of seeking re-election after serving for 34 years.

Both candidates said they look forward to trying to continue the success Macke has achieved as auditor.

Financial background

Since the county auditor is considered the county's chief budgetary officer, both candidates stressed the importance of their backgrounds in business and finance.

Ludwig pointed to his 27 years at Moore Business Farms, which he has since retired from, as an indication of his ability to work with people and businesses over a long period of time.

Hopkins said it was his time at the March of Dimes, in which he took a 15 percent profit margin and turned it into a 60 percent profit margin, that shows his ability to help run the budget.

During the discussion the candidates were asked to explain what can be done to help Cape Girardeau get out of its current financial situation.

Hopkins pointed to his role on the city council, and its plans to make necessary cuts to help stop the bleeding. A quarterly review of the budget, which the city council has recently adopted, was also pointed to by Hopkins as a way he has tried to deal with the financial problems.

With Jackson's economy actually growing, Ludwig stressed the importance of being financially conservative to help the economy grow.

Ludwig said he is confident the economies of Cape Girardeau and Cape Girardeau County will be OK.

"It's just getting over those bumps on the way," he said. "I think the future is still pretty bright."

For Pachyderm members, the discussion helped to bring some of the issues to the surface.

Helen Englehart of Jackson said she always enjoys the club because it "gets down to the issues."

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