Colorado State Treasurer Cary Kennedy said Monday night she led the state’s treasury through fiscally lean times in a way few states in the country can claim – positively.
However, she noted that running on a record she said was strong on fiscal responsibility and transparency may not be good enough in a state-wide race where opponents can personally finance their campaigns, and in one case draw on donations from 47 states as the cousin of George Bush.
“The only out of state funding I have I raised is from my grandmother and my old college roommate,” Kennedy said.
Republican state treasurer candidate Walker Stapleton, is the first cousin once removed of former President George W. Bush. Stapleton faces J.J Ament in Tuesday’s GOP primary.
Kennedy, speaking to Arapahoe County Democratic legislators and supporters on Monday night, said that where many states had taken advantage of derivatives and structured investments she made the right decision to stay out of risky investment products that other stares bought into and regretted as the economy crumbled around them. Kennedy said because of her decisions and those of state legislators, Colorado remained insulated from the collapse of the stock market.
Kennedy added that over the last decade Wall Street got creative in marketing to public money managers. She said many of those managers of state funds bought into derivatives, securities lending, and structured investments. In doing so, she said they lost hundreds of millions of dollars and saw their credit ratings plummet.
“The good news that I get to run on is that I turned them down,” Kennedy said, adding she terminated a securities lending project when she took office.
Kennedy also said added increased transparency in how taxpayer money was spent. She said that the database the state uses to write checks is now pubic record and accessible by Internet and that taxpayers can look to see exactly what their money pays for in terms of programs in state government.
During the event, numerous legislators expressed their admiration for Kennedy, noting Colorado Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams’ declaration that Kennedy needed to be stopped before she became governor.
Secretary of State Bernie Buescher, who also was a guest of honor at the fundraiser, said that while serving with Kennedy he had often tried to bring her on to legislation he was working on, calling her “the brightest person in the room.”