Walker Stapleton announces State Treasurer re-election bid; 2 Democrats seek position

July 12, 2013 Updated: July 12, 2013 at 7:55 am
photo - PERA Trustees Walker Stapleton Ex officio member; State Treasurer; continuous term.
PERA Trustees Walker Stapleton Ex officio member; State Treasurer; continuous term. 

State Treasurer Walker Stapleton announced Thursday that he will run for re-election in 2014.

"We've kind of operated in my office under the principles of keeping our heads down and working on common sense fiscal policies that protect and defend the taxpayers of Colorado," said Stapleton, a Republican who was first elected in 2010.

Two Democrats have announced they will run for the office as well: Betsy Markey, a former congresswoman, and Patrick Quinn, mayor of Broomfield.

Stapleton said he's waiting for the outcome of a primary and focusing on his campaign at the moment. Markey and Quinn announced on the same day last month they would enter the race.

Markey, who served two years in Congress, stressed on the steps of the state capitol the need for greater transparency in the treasurer's office so taxpayers know how their dollars are being spent.

Stapleton is fighting for transparency in government, too - with a lawsuit he has filed trying to obtain financial records from the Public Employee Retirement Association.

The first-term treasurer has made reforming PERA his top issue, writing op-ed pieces and talking to editorial boards about it.

"PERA affects all aspects of state government," Stapleton said. "PERA owes it to its members to be more conservative with its investments and make sure it is making promises it can ultimately keep."

PERA has an unfunded liability of more than $20 billion owed to retirees in the future, but in its annual report, that deficit is on track to be paid down in the next 40 years.

The interest group Colorado Coalition for Retirement Security has attacked Stapleton for his criticism of PERA, pointing out that Stapleton frequently misses PERA board meetings although he is a voting member.

Stapleton said that while he misses meetings because of other obligations, his office's attendance rate is 100 percent with a representative filling in at every meeting.

"My deputy Brett Johnson is there and he has full voting rights," Stapleton said.

Minutes from 2012 showed that Johnson attended every meeting, and Stapleton was present at three of 11 meetings.

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