OPINION: Demanding times require a new state treasurer, one with vision
In 2016, I came within 2.4%, or 42,000 votes, of winning the Oregon state treasurer's race despite being outspent 5-1 by the winning candidate. Chris Telfer ran as an Independent that year and won 175,000 votes.
This year, Chris is supporting me 100%, and we are raising more money. This year's 3rd party candidate is on the left instead of the right. Some would say the stars have aligned for me in 2020. I like to say that fortune favors the prepared.
Three words summarize this year's treasurer's race: competence, integrity, and vision.
While serving on Lake Oswego City council, my colleagues adopted my financing plan, which allowed the city to replace its operation/maintenance center without asking the residents for one additional dime. By adopting my financing plan, the city is replacing City Hall/police station without asking the residents for one additional dime. Competence is demonstrated by results.
In 2016, Tobias Read was elected Oregon State Treasurer. In that time, Oregonians have seen significant issues financially impact Oregon including PERS changes, a corporate activity tax,
a proposed cap/trade tax and now, COVID-19 economic lockdown and reopening. Whatever one's political stripes, we can agree these issues have major treasury policy implications for Oregon. Mr. Read, via the treasury website, describes himself as "the navigator for sound and responsible financial policy." If you were paying an individual to serve as financial navigator, would you expect that person to present a clear accounting of the effects of your decisions? I certainly would.
Instead of directly addressing the unprecedented economic blow Oregon has taken from COVID-19, Mr. Read offers hollow platitudes: "we will get through this" and "this is not the time to worry about the stock market numbers (pro-tip: they will go back up)." Oregonians don't need pandering from their treasurer. Those most vulnerable among us certainly don't need stock tips from an unlicensed financial advisor. We need a treasurer who addresses Oregon's fiscal challenges openly and directly confronts difficult policy implications. Mr. Read does not publicly speak to hard truths or painful steps. Instead, he pivots to superfluous editorial commentary, or, simply remains silent. Avoiding difficult topics by talking about soft, unrelated issues is an abdication of responsibility.
In a recent television advertisement Mr. Read described himself as a number guy. He is not.
• A numbers person offers a financial vision of the future. Mr. Read does not.
• A numbers person provides commentary and analysis to inform and persuade. Mr. Read does not.
• A numbers person looks at the major infrastructure projects of the state and provides a ranking of them and why. Mr. Read does not.
• A numbers person looks at the financial challenges of our Public Employee Retirement System and offers constructive, thoughtful and inclusive solutions going forward. Mr. Read does not.
• A numbers person looks at climate change and includes the economic impact to the state in the state's financial statements. Mr. Read does not.
• A numbers person finds ways to offset the carbon impact of Treasury travel. Mr. Read does not.
• A numbers person makes sure basic financial statements are presented at board meetings they chair. Mr. Read does not.
• A numbers person attends PERS board meetings to listen, learn and contribute ideas to the funding challenge of PERS. Mr. Read does not.
• A numbers person speaks out when the unfunded liability for pensions increases from $2 billion to over $25 billion on their watch. Mr. Read does not.
Competence: From local to national, I've served as the treasurer of organizations small and large. I have worked real-world financial jobs almost longer than Mr. Read has been alive.
Integrity: I believe there is integrity in being sincere in your ambitions. I want to be your treasurer for the next eight years. I do not want to be governor. I do not want to be Secretary of State. I want to be your treasurer.
Vision: My vision is to be the treasurer for all Oregonians from truck drivers to restaurant servers to firefighters to tech entrepreneurs. Oregonians. The calculation involved in developing policies that balance lives and livelihoods is challenging. An effective leader combines heart, humility and hard evidence while continuing to inform and engage the public. Mr. Read's silence and inaction is inexcusable. It's time for a new treasurer in Oregon.
Competence, Integrity and Vision. Visit JeffGudman.org to learn more.
Jeff Gudman is the Republican candidate for Oregon State Treasurer.
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