MONTPELIER — Former gubernatorial candidate Dan Feliciano plans to run for state auditor as a Republican.
Feliciano said Tuesday he is in the process of gathering the required signatures and plans to submit his petition to the Secretary of State’s Office by the Thursday deadline. Auditor Doug Hoffer, a Democrat and Progressive, has already filed for re-election.
As a business consultant, Feliciano says he has the necessary background to help state government improve its operations and finances by finding improvements. He said he decided to seek the office after people told him his background was well-suited for the position.
“My whole background is about change and driving change and understanding what the change factors are in government,” he said.
Feliciano said he plans to bring more “visibility” to the office by focusing its efforts on the state’s “strategic performance” and “financial performance.”
“I really think the auditor position really needs to transition into a more proactive role in the bills that are coming up to identify the risks that are possible in the bills,” he said.
The state’s elected auditor needs to have a background in health care and information technology, according to Feliciano. He said his work as a business consultant has given him deep experience in both by working with major health insurance companies. He said he has helped develop and deploy automated systems to adjudicate insurance claims.
“IT is here forever and it is here to stay and it’s a way that government can scale itself and keep costs down. I believe the auditor needs to have an IT background,” he said. “If we’re talking about health care, health care, health care, I have an extraordinary background unparalleled by anyone in the state.”
Hoffer, first elected in 2012, will be difficult to unseat. He has won praise across the political spectrum for his performance. Feliciano said he plans to begin work on a strategy to campaign effectively against Hoffer.
“We’re going to sit down and actually strategize that to really understand. It’s going to be really about what the future role of the auditor ought to be,” he said. “The auditor has to be a role that’s more geared to identifying management risks proactively.”
Feliciano ran for governor in 2014 as a Libertarian. He also ran a write-in campaign for the Republican nomination, but was handily defeated by the GOP’s nominee, Scott Milne. In the general election Feliciano won about 4 percent of the vote in a very close race between Gov. Peter Shumlin and Milne.
Since losing the 2014 gubernatorial election Feliciano said he has been “working quite diligently with the republican party” and has served as the treasurer for the Essex Town Republican Committee.
“That’s the best way I saw to go forward. They have a bigger machine. My platform, many people said, was very republican in nature to begin with,” he said. I think most Republicans in Vermont have that Libertarian streak in them.”
Vermont Republican Party Chairman Dave Sunderland welcomed Feliciano into the race Tuesday in a statement.
“Dan’s professional background make him an ideal candidate for this position. Vermont Republicans are excited to work with him through November,” Sunderland said. “With strong candidates up and down the ticket, we will be well positioned to balance Montpelier and once again make Vermont an affordable place to live. Dan is a great addition to our team.”