Mike Claytor, Democratic Party candidate for Indiana state auditor, was the keynote speaker at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner on Thursday. He told the audience that locally is where the real impact of government is felt. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
Mike Claytor, Democratic Party candidate for Indiana state auditor, was the keynote speaker at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner on Thursday. He told the audience that locally is where the real impact of government is felt. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
Democrats gathered Thursday night at the Boneyard Event Center to get energized for the May 6 primary election.

More than 200 people attended the event where Mike Claytor, a Democratic candidate for state auditor, was the keynote speaker.

Claytor, a certified public accountant, said he is the only auditor candidate in the state's history to have a CPA.

Claytor said that local elected officials have tremendous responsibility because that's where the real impact of government can be felt.

"The important races, the important people in this election are in these seats," Claytor said of the people running for local races. "Your local candidates are so very important."

Claytor worked at the Indiana State Board of Accounts, serving as the deputy state examiner. Eventually, he moved to a private CPA firm and decided he wanted to make changes in Indiana after the auditor's office reported accounting errors that were said to have cost the state more than a half billion dollars.

"Having worked there, that really upset me," he said.

The state, Claytor said, is shifting toward a tax policy that hits low-income families the hardest.

"That is the policy we're moving toward. I think that's the wrong direction," he said.

Claytor ended with a warning to Gov. Mike Pence about how he would be keeping an eye on accounts and how tax dollars are being used.

"I own a calculator and I know how to use it," he said.

During the event, local candidates introduced themselves to the crowd and gave short biographies. Some statewide candidates and a national candidate - Lane Siekman, who is running for the 6th District Congressional seat - were in attendance.