Just weeks after his first pick abruptly resigned the office, Gov. Mike Pence appointed Rep. Suzanne Crouch to be the new state auditor, saying she is “uniquely” qualified for the office.
Crouch is a former county auditor, a former Vanderburgh County commissioner and has served in the Indiana House for eight years. She’ll take over the post on Jan. 2.
“This is a unique opportunity to work with state government,” Crouch said Monday. “It’s an opportunity to work with the governor’s office, it’s an opportunity to work with the legislature and with local governments. It’s kind of the best of all worlds.”
Pence said he recruited Crouch to the job, a change from the way he filled it the first time.
That was back in August when Pence picked then-Brownsburg Town Councilman Dwayne Sawyer from a long list of candidates who’d expressed interest in the job. At that time, the governor said “again and again it was Dwayne Sawyer who emerged as the best choice for all the people of Indiana.”
A few months later, Sawyer resigned citing personal reasons.
This time, Pence said he reconsidered some of those original candidates. But then he decided to talk to someone he hadn’t even interviewed during the first round.
“I called her,” Pence said of Crouch. “As I looked at her background, as I reflected on the time that we spent during the last session of the General Assembly, as I reflected on her career, I just concluded that she was someone we ought to ask to consider to serve in this role.”
The governor called Crouch a “consequential lawmaker.” She served as vice chair of the budget-writing House Ways & Means Committee and co-authored legislation authorizing the lease of the Indiana Toll Road, which helped finance former Gov. Mitch Daniels’ Major Moves transportation plan.
Crouch said Monday that Pence’s call about the auditor’s position came out of the blue but she ultimately decided it was the “next thing I should do in public service.”
Crouch said she will also run for the post next year. That means asking Republicans at their state convention next June to elect her to be the GOP nominee. If they do, she could face accountant Mike Claytor, who has announced he is seeking the Democratic nomination.
The auditor’s position came open last summer when Republican Tim Berry – who had been elected to the post – resigned to become chairman of the Indiana Republican Party.
On Monday, Berry called Crouch “an excellent choice” and said her experience as a county auditor will serve her well in the state post.
House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said Crouch “will certainly be missed as a member of our caucus and a fiscal leader on our Ways and Means Committee.”