WEMTA Candidate Questionnaire Answers

1. What is your position on restoring the state treasurer’s duties?

I strongly believe in restoring and expanding the duties of the Wisconsin State Treasurer. As the former Director of Communications and Community Outreach for the Office of State Treasurer from 2012-2015, I directly administered, often at record performance levels, many of the programs that have been removed or transferred from the Office. It is also my view that the Unclaimed Property Program was unconstitutionally transferred to the Department of Revenue and all means, including litigation, should be used to return the management of that fund to the Office of State Treasurer. This would allow the State Treasurer to use the revenue and interest generated by Unclaimed Property to fund a variety of new programs I would implement as State Treasurer, including programs to provide money to victims of crime and to promote the teaching of financial literacy to Wisconsin’s children.

2. What do you believe the role of the state treasurer is in relation to public education in Wisconsin?

I am a public school graduate, my daughter is in Madison Public Schools, my father was a guidance counselor at my public high school, and my mother was a UW-Madison professor. Public schools exist for the greater good of us all. As State Treasurer I would use my financial and investment experience to ensure investments made through BCPL direct as much money as possible to the Common School Fund while avoiding acquiring risk that would put our school funding in jeopardy. I would use the revenue and interest generated by Unclaimed Property, once returned to the Treasurer’s Office, to direct further monies into the Common School Fund. I will always fiercely advocate against any proposal to undermine our public schools and fiscal support to them. 

3. Legislation introduced during the 2017-18 legislative session would have eliminated the requirement that Common School Fund distributions be given to school libraries. What is your position on this proposal?

I am strongly opposed to this proposal. Public school libraries, from 4K to the Universities, are a crucial part of our public school system and provide resources our children need to learn. Funding to those libraries must be guaranteed structurally. We cannot allow our school libraries to be put at risk by the whim of a single administration or elected official.

4. Legislation introduced during the 2017-18 legislative session would have ended the BCPL Trust Fund Loan Program. What is your position on this proposal?

My position is simple. That is a terrible proposal and further undermines our public schools by potentially stripping away $36 million of annual support to our public school libraries. This loan program generates revenue that constitutionally is required to transfer to four funds supporting our public school system from grades 4K through the Universities.  It is necessary. Our forefathers carefully and intricately laid out the paths for this funding and its sources to support our public schools.  Further, if managed properly and returned to the Office of the State Treasurer, Unclaimed Property can generate even more revenue to transfer to that loan program  benefitting our public schools.

5. How will you ensure that the Common School Fund and other BCPL trust funds are receiving all required deposits from fines, fees and forfeitures and other constitutionally required funding streams?

The Department of Revenue is not currently fully cooperating per the "Memorandum of Understanding" with the Office of the State Treasurer and BCPL on transferring Unclaimed Property revenue to the BCPL. This is unacceptable to me. There should be a quarterly schedule for this to occur and assure more funds are available for investments and loans to benefit those four school funds. It is an obligation of the State Treasurer to assure a steady stream of revenue to support this fund.  I am proposing creating a "Waste, Fraud and Abuse" program within the office that would have both audit and enforcement power. This would assure BCPL receives all required deposits. I would eagerly seek bipartisan support to increase and impose stronger enforcement capabilities, fortifying the auditing authority that already exists within the State Treasurer's statutory duties.

6. What issues or policies will you prioritize if elected?  

Mostly simply put I intend to use my experience, relationships, and passion to restore and expand the powers of the Office of State Treasurer. I will fight to restore programs that were unconstitutionally transferred away from the office, such as Unclaimed Property. I will fight to protect our public lands, fight to defend public pensions, and safeguard the funding for our public schools. I will create new programs to distribute money to victims of crime, eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse, and create greater financial literacy for our children. I take the role of being Wisconsin’s financial guardian seriously and will administer this office to its highest potential, advocate to expand it, and communicate its importance to the people of Wisconsin.