Candidates seek position as Iowa treasurer

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Treasurer

Duties of the state treasurer: Plays key role in monitoring the state's finances and is seen as its banker. The state treasurer helps combine state funds for banking and investment purposes, and helps monitor two pension funds.

Candidate: Michael Fitzgerald

Age: 62

Political party: Democrat

Residence: Waukee

Occupation: Treasurer

Education: BA, University of Iowa

Professional experience: Worked as a marketing analyst for Massey Ferguson, an agricultural equipment manufacturer.

Political experience: First elected as Iowa's treasurer in 1983 and has held the position since, making him the nation's longest-serving state treasurer.

Top Goals if Elected:

— Wants to expand the College Savings Iowa program, which helps families save money for their children's college education. In next four years, wants to double the number of children who can benefit from the program and will reach out to low-income families to help them sign up.

— Wants to help Iowa residents claim more money owed to them, noting the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt that lets residents see if they're entitled to money that's sent to the treasurer's office as lost or abandoned. Says the federal treasury department is holding $300 million worth of matured savings bonds for Iowa residents.

— Wants to work with several groups to promote more financial literacy.

Quote: "My approach to government has always been consistent. I push for professionalism, efficiency and fiscal responsibility here in the state of Iowa. "

Candidate: Sam Clovis

Age: 65

Political party: Republican

Residence: Hinton

Occupation: Economics professor at Morningside College, Sioux City.

Education: BS, United State Air Force Academy; MBA, Golden Gate University; DPA, University of Alabama

Professional experience: Served in the Air Force. Worked as an associate with Booz Allen and Hamilton, a consulting firm. Also worked at Northrop Grumman and as a fellow with the Homeland Security Institute, a Washington think tank.

Political experience: Hosted daily conservative talk show out of Sioux City. Hosted a program about faith and citizenship for St. Gabriel Communications, a Catholic radio outlet. Has served as president of the nonprofit Serious Civics for America, Inc.

Clovis entered the state treasurer race after losing the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, saying top party officials encouraged him to run.

Top Goals if Elected:

— Wants to close the unfunded liability of the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS), the Police Officers Retirement System and the Judiciary Retirement System. Says he would find a way to buy down the $6 billion deficit currently in place with IPERS. Recommended more formal legislative oversight over the treasurer's office and that a portion of future budget surpluses be used to reduce the pension deficit.

— Wants to expand investment opportunities within the College Savings Iowa program and push for passage of legislation that would expand tax credits for Iowa residents who contribute to a college savings fund but are not the originator of the fund. Wants to lock in tuition rates for Iowa college students. Says he supports a proposal by Gov. Terry Branstad to lock-in rates for specific degree programs. He also wants to help low-income families sign up for the College Savings Iowa program.

— Wants to create a more formal relationship between the treasurer's office and the banking community and to help banks lower their costs so they can offer better loan conditions and spur more investment within Iowa.

Quote: "Rather than being a bureaucrat who sits in an office and simply takes issues and paper from the inbox to the outbox, I think that the treasurer for the state of Iowa is uniquely equipped to become a person who can advocate and be a strong voice for the people of Iowa inside the executive branch of the Iowa government and can be a tremendous lobbyist to go down to the General Assembly and fight for the people of Iowa in the General Assembly. That is one of the things that I would look forward to doing."

One of a series of stories advancing the Nov. 4 election.

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