The Republican who finished second in the race for the GOP’s U.S. Senate nomination is still on November’s ballot — as a candidate for state treasurer. Sam Clovis says as state treasurer he’d be an advocate for tax reform, college affordability and economic development.
“All of these things have impact on the treasurer’s office and the treasurer’s office has impact on all of those things,” Clovis says. “And we have had a treasurer in the state of Iowa that has essentially done very little if any of that and has been essentially there to make sure the bills get paid.”
Democrat Michael Fitzgerald has been state treasurer for the past 32 years and he’s seeking reelection to another four-year term. Fitzgerald stresses his role as, essentially, the state’s banker.
“I’ve kept the money safe for all these years,” Fitzgerald says. “I’ve worked with our Republican auditors, especially Dick Johnson, to bring Generally Accepted Accounting Principles — an honest set of books to Iowa which helped us get AAA (bond) rating from all the rating agencies and now we have reserve funds because of that.”
And Fitzgerald says he’s addressed college affordability as the manager of the College Savings Iowa program.
“We have over 221,000 accounts, $4 billion is invested and it’s helping families send their kids to college in Iowa,” Fitzgerald says.
Clovis faults Fitzgerald for using the fund’s promotional dollars to feature himself in public service announcements about the program.
“He has used the PSAs for electioneering in election years,” Clovis says.
Fitzgerald defends his appearance in this fall’s radio and TV spots for the program.
“College Savings Iowa has grown because people want to know who they’re investing their money with and Iowans have come to trust me with the College Savings Iowa because we professionally invest their money,” Fitzgerald says, “and we’ve done remarkably well.”
Clovis says the money Fitzgerald has been spending on public service announcements could be better spent helping set up College Savings accounts for middle and low-income Iowans.
“Once they’re started, typically a family will continue to save,” Clovis says. “And a child that has a college saving program is seven times more likely to go to college and four times more likely to graduate from college and what that does is helps break the cycle of poverty in the state and essentially changes the economy of the state almost overnight.”
Clovis, who is 65 years old, lives in Hinton and is a Morningside College economics professor. Fitzgerald, who is 62, was a marketing analyst for Massey-Ferguson before he was elected state treasurer.