Treasurer Candidates Envision Job As "Watchdog"

Jul 13, 2017

Qualifying for the October 14th state Treasurer’s race began Wednesday, with three Republicans, one Democrat and one Libertarian signed onto the ballot thus far.

Several of the candidates are modeling their message on how prior Treasurer John Kennedy did the job; most notably, recently-resigned Republican state Representative John Schroder.

“We have a spending problem. You know, we spend too much money,” Schroder said, echoing Kennedy verbatim.

Republican state Senator Neil Riser of Columbia likes that model, too.

“I see what Treasurer Kennedy – now Senator Kennedy – has done. I think he’s brought it to the forefront, showing the people and let them know where wasteful spending is going on,” Riser said.

Republican Angele Davis, who served as Tourism Secretary under Governor Mike Foster, the later as Governor Bobby Jindal’s first Commissioner of Administration, also sees the role as one of guardian.

“As Treasurer, I’ll serve as a watchdog. I’ll protect our state’s fiscal interests,” Davis stated. “I have a track record of balancing the state budget. I have a track record of getting our bond ratings upgraded.”

The Louisiana Constitution describes the job this way: “The Treasurer shall be responsible for the custody, investment and disbursement of the public funds of the state.”

Yet none of the candidates talked about the main way the treasurer can help with the state’s financial bottom line -- through managing the state’s investments, although Democrat Derrick Edwards of New Orleans mentioned it in passing.

“Transparency: that is my main focus. Not just the Bond Commission and investments, but letting the people know exactly how their tax dollars are spent,” said Edwards, who holds degrees in both accounting and law.

And when asked about the other parts of the job -- custody and disbursement of the billions of dollars of state funds -- Schroder said: “I was taught in first grade, 1+1=2. It’s just adding and subtracting. It’s not that difficult. We make this big production out of it, but it’s just zeroes.”