Two Senators Duke It Out For Treasurer

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Vying for the office of state treasurer are David Petersen, Republican, and Ruth Solomon, Democrat.

The treasurer is the state's chief financial officer and is keeper of the state's monies. The treasurer manages the state general fund, which includes receiving, holding, investing and disbursing state money. The treasurer is third in the constitutional line of succession if the governor leaves office in mid-term.

The treasurer's term is for four years.

David Petersen

A state senator for the past eight years and a financial services planner for 23 years, Petersen says he has the experience, leadership and vision to monitor the public's tax dollars.

"It takes more than a bean counter to lead the treasurer's office where it needs to go. It takes a leader who can speak out to safeguard tax dollars," Petersen said in the Citizens Clean Election Commission voters' pamphlet.

Ruth Solomon also has served in the state senate and the house of representatives.

"Arizona's economic security will come from enhancing the return on your tax dollars and focusing on local investment opportunities. This strategy will maximize the availability of good jobs, good schools and a clean environment," Solomon said in her statement in the voters' pamphlet.

Petersen said he believes in stable, sound and prudent financial management practices.

"Index investing (in Standard & Poor's 500 stocks) during rising markets produces the largest return for the lowest risk. I understand that high taxes cripple an economy. I want to reduce the risk and exposure to Arizona taxpayers and businesses, not increase it," Petersen said.

He said he plans to review the operation of the treasurer's office and make changes if necessary to have a more efficient and cost effective office that continuously improves.

"As state treasurer, I will focus on safeguarding taxpayer's money, both coming in and going out. The alternative fuels fiasco, as well as the school facilities board's misspending shows a disconnect between the legislative and executive branches and are examples of money going out the back door without the proper checks and balances expected of good government. I will be more attentive to the details and progress of any large expenditure policy and speak out when these programs are off the track.

"As an investment strategy, I will pursue employing professional money managers for funds invested in the stock market to insure there is a strategy for asset allocation and preserving the capital as required by the Arizona State Constitution," Petersen said.

Ruth Solomon

Solomon was elected to the house in 1988 and she is now finishing her fourth term in the senate.

"Now more than ever Arizona's taxpayers deserve a guardian of their treasury who knows how to invest wisely and who understands the importance of open book accounting. I will bring the same dedication, responsibility and integrity to the office of state treasurer as I have to my work as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and now as Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Chair of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee," Solomon said on her website.

Solomon is a retired teacher and while serving in the Legislature has represented Tucson's 14th District.

"Since I taught kindergarten through the twelfth grade for 28 years, I have a special interest in the Arizona Schools Trust, the state fund that is supposed to use revenues from state land to help fund education. The State Land Department manages the land, but the State Treasurer is responsible for investing the trust's expendable funds to maximize revenue, and distributes the expendable receipts. In 1998, the terms for investing these funds were changed. Instead of allowing the funds to be placed in safe, interest-bearing securities, up to 60 percent of the funds now can be invested in stocks, a change that is supposed to increase income from investments.

"Unfortunately, this has not been a good year in the stock market. The safety and security of the schools' permanent fund, and the interest earnings, is squarely in the hands of the treasurer. My intention is to make sure that the public schools are guaranteed earnings based on thoughtful, prudent investments," Solomon said on her website.

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