Treasurer Stapleton runs for re-election

Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton announced plans to run for re-election Thursday.

The 39-year-old Republican was first elected to the post in 2010, narrowly defeating incumbent Democrat Cary Kennedy.

Among his accomplishments since getting elected, Stapleton touted consolidating the state’s debt issuance processes, saying it saved taxpayer money.

“Our accomplishments in the Treasurer’s Office are not partisan or controversial, but examples of common-sense solutions for the taxpayers of Colorado,” Stapleton said in a release announcing his re-election bid. “My office is not concerned with grabbing headlines, but rather we’ve focused on keeping our head down, safely investing taxpayers’ money, correcting ineffective government policies and serving Colorado taxpayers. During my second term, I will continue following these policies.”

As treasurer, Stapleton automatically sits on the board of directors of the Public Employees Retirement Association, which oversees pension benefits for state workers.

Though he has long claimed that PERA’s expected rate of return is unrealistically high — about 8 percent — the association’s 2012 financial report released last month showed a 12.9 percent return.

As a result, he was criticized by several state workers’ groups as not being the “fiscal genius” the Republican Party makes him out to be.

Still, Stapleton says PERA has a $20 billion unfunded liability, and has been rated by nonpartisan mutual funds, such as Morning Star, as not being fiscally sound.

“PERA continues to owe a dangerous amount of money that it does not have,” he said. “That should worry Colorado’s taxpayers as well as current and future PERA retirees.”

He said the association should be more conservative with its investments and expected rate of return.

Walker, who does not face a primary challenger, will run against the winner of a Democratic primary between Broomfield Mayor Patrick Quinn and former U.S. Rep. Betsy Markey, who represented the 4th Congressional District for one term before losing the seat in 2010 to U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, a Republican.

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