Outside the state treasurer’s office, Dita Bhargava lays out her plan for the job

Outside the state treasurer’s office on Tuesday, Democrat Dita Bhargava of Greenwich unveiled her vision for the position, which emphasizes socially responsible investing and mitigate the effects of record inflation on the government’s pension portfolio.

Bhargava, who ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for state treasurer in 2018, is in a three-way race against Karen Dubois-Walton, head of the New Haven Housing Authority, and Erick Russell, former vice -chairman of the state Democratic Party and a bond attorney at Pullman & Comley, both from New Haven.

State Senator Saud Anwar, D-South Windsor, and State Representatives Anne Hughes, D-Easton, and Kerry Wood, D-Rocky Hill, joined Bhargava in Hartford for the release of his campaign platform .

Russell received the party’s endorsement at the Democratic convention last month. But Bhargava, a former Wall Street trader, cited her previous experience running a statewide campaign and was the first Democrat in the race to raise the $86,600 in small contributions needed to apply for the citizen election program.

“I think this time people will remember they voted for me, remember why they voted for me,” Bhargava said.

Republican State Rep. Harry Arora of Greenwich, his party’s favorite, became the first candidate to qualify for public funding in the race.

In the Democratic race, Bhargava took issue with Russell calling herself an “outsider” — a title she says is more apt for her candidacy — despite the party’s endorsement. “I’m not new to being the underdog as a woman who studied electrical engineering, worked in a heavily male-dominated industry,” she said.

Russell’s campaign manager highlighted his experience working in his family’s convenience store, being the first in his family to graduate from college, and his status as a leader in the LGBTQ+ community and as a partner in a law firm. leading attorneys – and now the endorsed Democratic nominee for state treasurer.

“If that’s not an underdog story, we don’t know what is,” Sam Zakur, Russell’s campaign coordinator, said in a released statement on Tuesday.

Ahead of the August 9 primary, Bhargava is positioning herself as a candidate dedicated to both fiscal and social responsibility.

While the treasurer’s main responsibility is to manage the state’s $44 billion pension fund, Bhargava, whose son died of an opioid overdose in 2018, said the office also has the influence needed to “bring big banks and corporations to the table and demand change.”

“This office can have a major impact on issues ranging from the opioid crisis, economic equality, racism, sexism, pay equity, climate change and so much more,” she said. declared.

The state’s pension portfolio is currently heavily invested in stocks and bonds, Bhargava said, but given inflation, the state should redirect its investments towards real estate and commodities, among other areas. She said she would also seek to negotiate lower fees and costs associated with administering the pension fund.

Bhargava won 43% of the vote when she ran against Treasurer Sean Wooden in 2018. Wooden’s unexpected announcement earlier this year that he would not run sparked a flurry within his party to find out who would replace him. State treasurer is one of three open seats for the statewide constitutional office this election season.

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