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Local businessman announces bid for county auditor's seat

H&H Furniture owner Mark Peterson announced yesterday, Thursday, that he is a candidate for Yakima County Auditor during this year's election.

Peterson, who announced his bid from his Toppenish and Yakima stores, says he's running because the incumbent, Corky Mattingly, is not achieving the office's mission statement of "providing quality services in accounts payable, elections, finance, licensing, payroll and recording."

Peterson notes, "The current auditor has failed in achieving that mission. That is why I'm running."

If elected, Peterson says the first priority will be on improving customer service.

"When county taxpayers are allowed to actually meet with staff, the hours are from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.," Peterson says. "That is not customer service. That is making it easy for the staff and not the taxpayer. Those hours will change when I'm elected."

Peterson, who also has an H&H Furniture outlet in Sunnyside, also pointed to what he called critiques of Mattingly's performance by the state auditor's office.

"The State Auditor, Brian Sontag has come out with a blistering report against our current auditor for not one, but two straight years," Peterson claims. "In his words there are significant deficiences and material weaknesses."

Peterson also asserts that Mattingly's office has been late in meeting reporting requirements.

"In these difficult times, we need a no frills small businessman who has been successful in the private sector to make sure the county remains financially strong. The county needs a better steward of its tax dollars," Peterson claimed.

He also pledged that if elected voter fraud would be a top priority

"I have lived in the Yakima Valley for most of my life. I have a long record of not only successes in the private sector with my family business, but also in the community," Peterson said.

He noted his experience in helping to form the Yakima County Crime Stoppers, which he says to date has led to the arrest of almost 1,000 wanted felons. "It is an organization I'm very proud to be a part of," he says.

"I also serve on the board of The Citizens for Safe Yakima Valley Communities that helps various public safety groups, non-profits and law enforcement coordinate efforts to fight crime," Peterson added.

In announcing his candidacy, Peterson also took time to publicly step down from his post as chair of FYI (Forward Yakima Initiative), which he says helps promote business-friendly candidates for office in Yakima and Yakima County. Peterson says he is stepping down to avoid any potential conflict of interest.

"The voters will have a clear choice in the race for auditor," he summed up. "I will bring a fresh set of eyes with a small businessman's experience that will give the taxpayers more accountability for their hard-earned dollars."

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