State Treasurer District

Thad Gray

10 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Republican

CEP Status: nonparticipating

Website: www.thadforct.com

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Current Residence: Lakeville

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Shawn Wooden

15 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Democrat

CEP Status: participating

Website: shawnwooden.com

Age: 49

Marital Status: Single

Current Residence: Hartford

Current Job: Investment Attorney/Partner: Day Pitney, Hartford

Previous Job: Investment Attorney: AFL-CIO's Office of Investment, Washington, D.C.

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Education: Trinity College B.A.1991;New York University School of Law J.D.1997

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Aside from the limited availability of funds to invest, is there anything holding back the state from growing its investment income? Anything that can be changed with respect to policy?
The Treasurer can significantly influence the amount of return on investments by being smart about where and when we make our investments. In more technical terms, that means we need to be very proactive in shifting the weight we put on asset classes during positive and negative economic cycles. The bottom line is that I will enact policies in the Treasurer’s office to ensure that we respond to those cycles with the goal of maximizing returns no matter what the economic climate.
Are stricter bond covenants the best way to control state spending, or will those agreements undercut Connecticut's ability to control its finances?
There is no question that while bond covenants can impose needed control on bonding levels, they also significantly restrict the state’s flexibility in this area. I strongly believe a better course of action is for government to impose its own fiscal discipline and restraint, and I will use my voice as Treasurer to encourage such discipline every day.
In 2016 the Connecticut Retirement Security Program was created. It will give over 600,000 residents in our state a way to save for retirement at work. Knowing that employees are 15 times more likely to save merely by having access to payroll deduction, how will you continue the implementation of this important program?
People who have worked most of their lives deserve a secure retirement, and it is distressing to me that more than half a million people in Connecticut don’t have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan. It’s unfortunate that the retirement security authority has not implemented this program yet. If elected, I intend to use my role as Treasurer to accelerate efforts to implement this important program. Too many CT residents are waiting on us to get this done. I support this program because it will positively impact the financial future of hundreds of thousands of our residents, and it won’t cost taxpayers a dime. In fact, it could save the State tens of millions in costs because those who are more secure in their retirement are less reliant on government for support.
There has been talk on the campaign trail suggesting that ideology could play into Connecticut's investment decisions. If elected, will you divest from anything in particular? Why or why not, and how will that impact the state's investment income?
Divestment should be a tool of last resort. But there are times when it may be appropriate – such as divesting in irresponsible gun manufacturers that are essentially marketing gun violence and death, and producing diminishing investment returns. I will maximize returns while investing in Connecticut’s shared priorities – jobs, education, and infrastructure. My approach is that if you can get the same return from investment A or investment B, why would you not choose the one that will also produce long-term added value for our state?
Is the way the state provides financial support to municipalities sustainable in today's economy? Theoretically speaking, if you could make changes to how the state helps municipalities with their finances, or how municipalities raise revenue, what would those changes look like?
While financial support to municipalities is under the purview of the Governor and the Legislature, I believe the state should do whatever it can to ensure that our cities and towns are not unduly burdened by fiscal policies and decisions made at the state level. I also believe the state should be as flexible as possible in allowing municipalities to raise revenue on their own.
The 459,000 family caregivers in Connecticut provide an estimated 427 million hours of care each year. Nationwide, nearly seven in ten caregivers report making work accommodations because of caregiving, including arriving late/leaving early, cutting back their hours, changing jobs, or stopping work entirely. Would you support a family leave law that provides paid leave to employees who have to take time off for family caregiving purposes?
Absolutely. I’m a longstanding advocate for policies that allow workers paid time off to care for family members in need. And as someone whose Mom just celebrated her 90th birthday, I know full well how important that kind of support can be. I’m in favor of a paid family leave insurance program, as has been done by other states such as California and New York, that would be funded by employee payroll deductions. This program would be a supplement to the protections offered by the Family Medical Leave Act.
If elected, what are your top priorities in terms of what you will try to accomplish in your first term?
My priorities will be to significantly raise the level of the Treasurer's voice in state fiscal matters, to maximize investment returns while advancing priorities that move Connecticut forward, and to execute and encourage fiscal discipline in every aspect of government.