Republican Yee and Democrat Quezada answer questions

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The Arizona Republic posed questions to candidates for state treasurer to give voters a better understanding of how they would run state office.

Incumbent and Republican President Kimberly Yee faces a challenge from Democrat Martín Quezada in the November election.

The Treasurer oversees state banking and investments, assists local governments with their investments, and manages Arizona’s permanent land endowment. The office also administers the state’s 529 college savings plan.

Yee was the first Asian American candidate to win statewide office in Arizona when she was elected in 2018. She was previously a state senator and worked for the Arizona legislature. State and Treasurer’s Office.

Quezada is a Phoenix attorney who has served in the Arizona Legislature for the past decade and is running for statewide office for the first time. Before that, he worked in the Legislature, but left to attend Arizona State University for law school.

They had a televised debate on October 3.

Below are the questions and answers for each candidate.

Fight against inflation

Question: Arizona is a national hot spot for inflation. Can you explain how inflation affects the office of the treasurer, if any, and how you would approach this as state treasurer?

Yes : As interest rates rise, the Treasury makes more money and we currently project $180 million in general fund revenue this fiscal year that can be used by the legislature to offset state agency costs. due to Biden’s inflationary environment.

I’m a longtime advocate for financial education. As Treasurer, I am committed to helping families with helpful financial advice as they navigate this inflationary environment and sharing with them the simple message of “never spend more than you earn”. I have posted free financial education resources on the Office of the Treasurer website to help students, families, veterans, and seniors.

Quezada: Rising costs affect us all and in all sectors. As State Treasurer, my goal will be to create the strongest investment portfolio possible to hedge against the vagaries of the market. While my opponent has placed politically motivated restrictions on herself on what she is willing to invest Arizonans’ money in, I am committed to evaluating investments based on facts and sound investment strategies. By focusing on smart investments rather than politics, we can ensure that our public funds earn a high enough rate of return to offset profits eroded by inflation.

It’s hard for Arizonans to talk about saving for a rainy day when the cost of groceries has doubled in the past six months. Arizonans are struggling to save right now, so an effective state treasurer will need to be proactive and creative in finding ways to help people save. Now is the time to amplify and re-energize the office’s financial literacy efforts, but currently those efforts are little more than links on the Treasurer’s website because our current Treasurer was too busy showing up to the post of governor.

School districts and local governments are also grappling with rising costs and will rely on state investments to help them weather the current economy. We have an opportunity to help the people of Arizona if we have the right person in the Treasurer’s Office who is actively engaged in these efforts.

For subscribers: Environment, politics and anti-Semitism dominate much of debate for Arizona treasurer

Sound investment practices

Q: Can you explain your principles for ensuring Arizona funds are placed in wise investments through the Office of the Treasurer?

Quezada: Security. This is the most important principle I will follow when it comes to investing Arizona taxpayers’ hard-earned money. I will welcome all risk assessments in creating our investment portfolio. We cannot afford to waste taxpayers’ money by refusing to assess the risks.

Evaluation. I will ensure that the rate of return on investments (also known as yield) is at the highest possible profit margin. This office is responsible for providing taxpayers with the highest possible rate of return. I will not make financial decisions based on personal policies.

Sound general management. The State Treasurer earns a full-time salary paid by taxpayers – our current State Treasurer does not work full-time to earn it. I pledge to work full time to make sure Arizonans get more money back in their pockets.

Yes : The guiding principles for Treasurer’s Office investments under my leadership have been “safety before liquidity before return” and I will never lose sight of the fact that the funds I invest as Arizona Treasurer belong to the taxpayer, so we need to produce the highest possible returns on our performance. I have one of the best performance records during my tenure as state treasurer, having earned $2 billion during my tenure.

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) ratings

Q: What are your thoughts on ESG scores and whether they should be used as a guide to how Arizona invests?

Yes : ESG scores are based on a political scorecard, not a financial scorecard. This is a dangerous path when a radical political agenda gets in the way of prudent fiscal policies designed to protect taxpayers. In August, I led the country to adopt an investment policy statement that prohibits Office of the Treasurer investments from being subject to the subjective political whims of ESG standards.

My office will continue to prioritize safe investment over the politically motivated agendas that my opponent supports. I believe in the American free enterprise system and free market principles, while ESG factors force the big hand of government to pick winners and losers in the private sector, which is wrong.

Quezada: ESG stands for environmental, social and governance standards. ESG scores are simply assessments of potential risks. Major companies like ExxonMobil, Nike, Pepsi and McDonalds all use these standards to inform their business practices. They absolutely should be one of the tools we use to look at the financial health of companies as well as the short and long term safety of investing in those companies.

Why my opponent wants to reject financial information used by big business is beyond me. When tasked with safeguarding Arizonans’ money, the first and most important consideration should always be the security of an investment. ESG scores provide insight into the future risk (or lack thereof) of a potential investment. To refuse to even consider this information is a huge mismanagement of people’s money.

After: Arizona state treasurer candidate Kimberly Yee says she still has work to do

Saving for higher education

Q: How can the Arizona College 529 Savings Plan be enhanced by the Office of the Treasurer?

Quezada: It’s a great program, but we can do more – big dreams cost money and we should create a pathway for Arizonans to achieve their dreams. It’s not enough to casually walk around and let Arizonans know about this plan – your state treasurer should actively promote this program, explain what this program is, benefits and penalties, funds you can transfer to and from, and many other details that go into making informed financial decisions.

The 529 Savings Plan is a great option for people who already have money to invest. The plan does nothing to help our poorest to increase their chances of success in higher education. I introduced a bill as a state senator this year, Senate Bill 1589, which would invest directly in the future of our children by providing seed money for their 529 accounts. I also believe we could replicate this program to create a pathway for people to save for buying a first home or starting a small business.

Yes : At my request, the Arizona 529 College Savings Plan was moved to the Treasurer’s Office in October 2020 and the first change I made was the name of the program to call it the Arizona 529 College Savings Plan so families know it’s not just about college savings, but also about saving for skilled labor and professional development.

As a longtime advocate for financial education, I want to prepare families to start saving early for their child’s higher education, whether it’s traditional college or vocational training. I intentionally extended the reach of the AZ529 plan to ZIP codes where families have never had the opportunity to go to college and the highest level of engagement has been in those same communities across the state. .

In the 23 months that the AZ529 plan has been under my stewardship, new accounts have increased by 21,737 and assets have increased by 10.3% to $1.78 billion thanks to the hard work of my staff. This means more families are starting to save for their children’s or grandchildren’s education and it means more security and opportunity for their future.

We are always looking to improve our reach in other corners of the state, to reach rural areas, diverse communities and schools.

Why voters should choose you

Q: Can you tell us in one sentence why you would serve Arizonans better in the Treasurer’s Office than your opponent?

Yes : I achieved historic record financial performance as Treasurer, doling out $2 billion in revenue under my leadership, and Arizona needs an experienced, proven leader with a steady hand at the wheel, especially in this economy. financial.

Quezada: My opponent has used the office of the state treasurer as a political platform to leverage a run for higher office, to tweet his extreme anti-choice views, and to choose his political favorites to invest in – as your Treasurer, I will work on behalf of Arizonans and use all available information to help put money back in the pockets of taxpayers.

Contact Reporter Ryan Randazzo at Ryan.Randazzo@arizonarepublic.com or 602-444-4331. Follow him on Twitter @UtilityReporter.

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