Mike Mitchell, Utah Auditor

Why did you decide to run for public office?

This election is not about red or blue but about green, the color of our money. I will be truly independent in my audits. I will speak out about misuse and waste of our tax dollars. I will keep the public informed on audit results on a real-time basis.

What is your background? Profession, skills, etc.? 

I am retired. I served twenty years in the Army as a finance and accounting officer. I have worked in public and corporate accounting, and I owned a tax practice for fifteen years, retiring from it this year.  

What is your general experience with drug policy and substance abuse? 

I have no experience.

Do you support the creation of a medical cannabis program? Can you expand upon your general feelings about medical cannabis?

I favor any treatment prescribed by doctors to alleviate pain and medical issues relating to disease or injury. I do not believe medical cannabis should be off the table for reasons of politics or government control. Scientists should be free from interference in studying medical uses of cannabis and doctors should be able to prescribe treatments as they see most beneficial to their patients.

What steps would you take to reduce the number of overdose deaths? Do you have any personal experiences with overdose?

I have no experience.

Do you agree with this analysis? Please feel free to elaborate.

I agree.

Are you familiar with the principle of harm reduction? Do you have any experience with harm reduction policies? Please feel free to elaborate.

I'm not familiar with this.

What are your general thoughts on the decriminalization of cannabis? Please elaborate.

I have no experience with cannabis. I believe treatment should be the goal and would hope that policy experts can come to an agreement on how best to effect such treatment. I am opposed to just locking people up unless there is a compelling public interest. We have too many citizens in jail for inordinately long sentences. We devote too much of our resources on jails and prisons without really accomplishing more than locking people up.

Are you interested in sponsoring drug policy reform legislation if you were elected? What would be some specific areas of focus or interest for you?

I am running for the position of state auditor and would not expect to be in any position to influence legislation on drugs.

Anything else?