With Butte County Auditor-Controller David A. Houser retiring this year after 28 years, voters in the county have as one of their choices to replace him the person who has served as his loyal assistant for the past seven years.

That person is Biggs native Graciela Gutierrez.

Gutierrez grew up in Biggs, attended grammar school there and went back to school at Chico State after raising three of her four children. She was working full time while going to college, so being able to accomplish many things at once probably prepared her for her work at Butte County as the Assistant Auditor-Controller the past seven years.

She’s received Houser’s endorsement in the upcoming election, as well as that of Treasurer-Tax Collector Patty Moak.

Gutierrez said Houser decided in March of this year that he was stepping down.

She knew right away that she wanted to run for the job, and feels her time working as Houser’s assistant has given her a great foundation to be successful in the job.

“He feels confident that I can keep the office running as it has been,” Gutierrez said. “I’m committed to the taxpayers … We have a great team, it’s a perfect unit.”

Gutierrez said she’s running on continuity. “We can always work to improve efficiency,” she added.

Gutierrez said the campaign so far has been an “adventure.” She’s enjoying getting out into the county and meeting voters.

“It’s great to represent my community here in Biggs and Gridley,” Gutierrez said. “I’ve been a member of this community my entire life, and that part of it is very rewarding.”

Working full-time makes for a challenge in making the time to get out and do the retail campaigning that is vital to winning a local election, and that has made for busy nights and weekends for Gutierrez.

But she’s loving every minute of it so far.

According to the office’s page on the Butte County website, the mission of the Auditor-Controller’s Office is “dedicated to providing public oversight, fiscal leadership, financial integrity, transparency and accountability through the effective fiscal monitoring, reporting, auditing and safeguarding of public resources and to provide service, assistance and information to the Public, Board of Supervisors, the Administrative Office, County Departments, Employees and Special Districts.”

The office since 2006 has consistently received the Government Finance Officers’ Association’s Certificate of Achievement for excellence in Financial Reporting. It’s also received the Award for Counties Financial Transactions Reporting from the State of California Office of the Controller.

Gutierrez and CPA Kathryn Mathes, a former employee in the office, are both running for the position, which is on the June 5 California primary ballot.