Cary Kennedy for state treasurer
In the race for Colorado state treasurer, Republican Walker Stapleton urged us to “compare skill sets” between him and incumbent Democrat Cary Kennedy. “Who would you rather invest $1,000 with?” he asked.
We’re happy to answer that question. When it comes to $1,000 of our tax money, or the $6 billion of Colorado taxpayers’ investments the treasurer oversees, we choose Kennedy, hands down.
Perhaps if we had $1,000 of our own personal money that we didn’t need for day-to-day expenses, we would want Stapleton’s more aggressive style of investing. The one-time New York investor who now manages a small, family-owned company, has suggested, among other things, that “It behooves the state to look at investing in gold and other metals.” He has criticized Kennedy because she “hasn’t made much” on state investments.
But the flip side is that the state hasn’t lost money on its investments during Kennedy’s tenure. That’s important in an era when some states and local governments have lost hundreds of millions of dollars through investments that went sour with the economy.
Kennedy doesn’t claim she saw the economic meltdown coming. But her conservative investment philosophy made her resist the pleas of Wall Street advisors that she place state money in derivative investments that were all the rage prior to 2008. She refrained from investing state money in any of the five major investment banks, several of which went broke or merged with other firms.
In 2007, Kennedy ended a $2 billion securities lending program in which all of the state’s money was loaned to a single bank.
Kennedy has also reduced operating expenses for her department to slightly below the level when she entered office in 2007.
She has installed new technology that makes it possible for taxpayers to go to the treasurer’s website to view how much every check written by state government was, what it was for and to whom it was paid. They can also view what portion of their state taxes goes to which state agencies and services.
Kennedy has worked with the Legislature to develop programs to provide low-cost funding for construction at public schools, colleges and universities around the state. And, as a member of the Public Employees Retirement Act board, she helped forge a plan that puts PERA on sounder financial footing.
We’re happy to invest in Kennedy for the next four years. We hope Colorado voters will do the same.