• 55°

Mississippi governor names Mississippi Justice Institute director as new state auditor

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant on Friday named an attorney who leads a conservative legal group to be the new state auditor.

Shad White has been Mississippi Justice Institute director since December. He has also been involved in Republican politics for years, including running Bryant’s re-election campaign in 2015.

“He is uniquely prepared for this job,” Bryant said.

The 32-year-old White has never held elected office. He succeeds Republican Stacey Pickering, who has been auditor since 2008. Pickering is resigning July 16 to become director of the Mississippi Veterans Affairs Board. Pickering is a former state senator who has been auditor since January 2008.

White will serve the rest of the four-year auditor’s term, which ends in January 2020. The state auditor is paid $90,000 a year. After graduating from the University of Mississippi, White was a Rhodes scholar. He later earned a law degree from Harvard.

He grew up in Jones County and lives in Rankin County.

Bryant himself was appointed auditor in 1996 and served nearly 12 years. Republican Gov. Kirk Fordice chose him for the job when a Democrat, Steve Patterson, resigned after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of using a false affidavit to buy a car tag. Bryant was auditor until becoming lieutenant governor in 2008.