HARTFORD, Conn. — Who is running for Connecticut State Treasurer and for State Comptroller this midterm election cycle?
Since 1639, Connecticut has required a treasurer to keep track of the state's finances.
The overall responsibilities of the Treasurer and its office include:
- Enhancing financial integrity and soundness of Treasury operations.
- Providing direction and leadership in carrying out Treasury functions.
- Fostering the economic well-being of the state and its citizens and businesses within the confines of fiduciary standards.
The Office of the Treasurer also oversees six divisions: Cash Management, Debt Management, Management Services, Pension Funds Management, Second Injury Fund, and Unclaimed Property.
After over three years of serving as Connecticut's current state Treasurer, Shawn T. Wooden will not be seeking reelection. The decision was announced this past spring.
With that said, there is an empty seat to fill to handle the state's finances in the governor's administration.
There will be a Democratic primary race for the candidacy for State Treasurer.
During his campaign, Erick Russell, of New Haven, said he will do the following if elected as Treasurer:
"Keep Connecticut’s finances and bond rating strong" to "live up to our obligations to municipal employees, police and fire men and women, and all our retirees."
"Leverage our state investments to help force positive change in corporate America. Whether we are talking about human rights, gun safety, climate change, or health care… the power of Connecticut’s pocketbooks can and should be used as a positive force for good."
"Work in partnership with local and state officials – and with other treasurers throughout our country – to help make long-term investments in Connecticut families and communities. Whether it’s expanding financial literacy for all our residents, or supporting incredible local programs such as Connecticut Baby Bonds, which helps fight poverty, reduce racial inequality, and spur long-term economic growth for everyone."
Russell won the state Democratic party's endorsement for State Treasurer in May 2022 during the Democratic State Convention. He was also endorsed by New Haven Rising. He was also endorsed by the current state Comptroller, Natalie Braswell, as well as by former Secretary of the State Denise Merrill.
His campaign was approved for the public financing grant in July.
As treasurer, Dita Bhargava of Greenwich aims to make pensions sustainable for teachers and state workers, maximize pension fund performance, be socially responsible for corporate governance, build up Treasurer's office initiatives - like CHET and Improving Financial Literacy - and continue in-state and bank partnerships.
Bhargava earned a degree in Electrical Engineering from McMaster University. After graduation, she pursued finance and became a trader on Wall Street for over two decades.
She went on to co-found Parity Partnership of Connecticut, a non-profit organization that addresses and educates the public about gender inequality.
She was "unanimously" elected Vice Chair of the Connecticut State Democratic Party in January 2017.
Bhargava has received many state endorsements from municipal leaders and state legislators. She has also received national endorsements, including from 3.14 Action, a nonprofit political action committee that seeks to elect scientists.
She was also nationally endorsed by Indra Nooyi, a former CEO of PepsiCo, and Gary Mendell, the current Chairman of HEI Hotels & Resorts.
As Treasurer, Karen DuBois-Walton of New Haven plans to ensure Connecticut's investments show growth and protect public pensions. She plans to guide state investments in communities in ways that benefit "hard-working" families and "stimulate equitable growth." She said she will "create opportunities for families to save, build assets and enhance their financial literacy," as well as "provide fair and equitable leadership that enhances morale, productivity and results."
DuBois-Walton is currently Chairperson of the CT State Board of Education.
She also ran against Justin Elicker in the New Haven mayoral election race last year, but dropped out before the primaries, making Elicker the Democratic candidate.
Elicker would later give a joint endorsement to DuBois-Walton for treasurer, along with former New Haven mayors Toni Harp and John DeStefano, Jr.
The DeBois-Walton was also endorsed by the Working Families Party.
DuBois-Walton earned her bachelor's degree from Yale University and her MA and Ph.D. from Boston University.
There is one Republican candidate, and he has been endorsed by the party.
Harry Arola, of Greenwich, is currently the state representative for the 151st district and is a Ranking Member of the Labor Committee.
Arora hopes to increase returns on state pensions by improving asset allocation and reducing fees.
He founded an investment business in Greenwich and has managed it for 20 years.
Arola said he "truly represents the American dream," as he came from India to America for grad school and graduated with a Master's degree in business administration from the University of Texas, Austin. He became a naturalized American citizen in 2004 and lives in Greenwich with his family.
The State Comptroller handles the public accounting and financial services for the state. This includes administering benefits for employees and retirees. They develop accounting policy and oversight, as well as prepare financial reports at the state, federal, or local levels.
For the comptroller, there is no primary election, but two candidates will go head to head in November.
Sean Scanlon is running on the Democrat ticket. He is currently the state Representative for the 98th District of Connecticut.
In an opinion piece published to CTPost in April 2022, he said Connecticut "is truly turning a fiscal corner," citing "record savings and surpluses."
He said he is running for Comptroller to keep the state moving forward.
He aims to do that by "putting money back in people's pockets," highlighting the gas tax holiday and child tax credit that was passed in this past legislative session.
He also calls for health care reform by vowing to continue pushing for laws that lower drug prices and expand access to insurance.
To grow jobs, Scanlon said growing savings, paying down debt, and modernizing workforce training programs will give small and big businesses confidence about the future.
Mary Fay of West Hartford is running on the Republican ticket for Comptroller.
Fay believes "Connecticut deserves better" when it comes to the state's economy, taxes, jobs, public safety and financial future. She said she will bring fiscal responsibility, honest reporting and forecasting, and operational efficiencies to the table if elected.
She said she has held several senior and executive-level leadership roles in the finance industry, including at Sun Life Financial, Travelers, Hartford HealthCare, The Hartford, ING, AIG and GE Capital.
Fay is also a member of the West Hartford town council and has been a member of the council's Finance, Budget, and Administration Subcommittee.
Fay ran on the Republican ticket for the U.S. House CT District 1 election in 2020, won by Democrat incumbent John Larson.
Leah Myers is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at email@example.com
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