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State treasurer

THE state Treasurer's Office runs a $13 billion banking operation, a program that lets people save for children's education; and a division that connects people with unclaimed property.

The Daily Mail endorses Republican Mike Hall of Winfield, who started out as a minister and became a retirement and investment adviser.

Hall is probably the best-qualified person ever to run for state treasurer and would be an asset to the state.

Hall has spent six terms in the House of Delegates and two terms in the state Senate. He has helped the state work through many financial challenges.

The current treasurer, Democrat John Perdue, was elected in 1996 after stints at the state Department of Agriculture and as an aide to Gov. Gaston Caperton. He has done a fair job in some ways. and Hall credits him for it.

But there is a cloud hanging over Perdue's head - a federal investigation that started when, as a member of the board of the state Housing Development Fund by virtue of his position as treasurer, Perdue sold land in Mason County to a Housing Fund developer armed with millions in federal funds.

Hall raises other troubling issues as well:

He does not think the Smart 529 program is getting the earnings it should, and would put it up for bid.

Hall also says Perdue has accepted $28,800 in campaign contributions from people who work in his office, and that relatives of employees have contributed at additional $16,145. Perdue accepted more than $38,000 from 41 employees in the Democratic primary in 2011. FBI agents are said to have probed those contributions.

Hall would refuse contributions from employees.

Hall also questions the necessity of roughly a dozen "local government specialists" who promote treasury programs, and some believe, Perdue himself.

The Treasurer's Office has serious responsibilities. Perdue is a politician. Hall is a professional.

West Virginians would be better served by the latter.


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