State Treasurer Fitzgerald says state-run pension program a priority if re-elected

Democratic State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald explained why he thinks Iowans should elect him to an 11e four-year term Thursday at the Iowa State Fair.

Speaking to the Des Moines Registry Political SoapboxFitzgerald said he wants to keep pushing the state to establish a retirement program for Iowans who don’t have a retirement plan through their employer.

“With half the people of Iowa approaching retirement age without a pension or retirement benefits, I think that’s a serious problem,” Fitzgerald said. “But there are things we can do to help Iowans prepare for retirement at no cost to us.”

Fitzgerald also said that if re-elected, he wants to try to return matured savings bonds held by the federal government to Iowans. And he said he would protect state pension funds.

“I will fight until the last day to keep not only IPERS, but also the peace officers and the judicial pension fund strong, and that is important for Iowa,” he said.

The state treasurer deposits and invests state funds.

Fitzgerald was first elected state treasurer in 1982 and is the nation’s longest-serving state treasurer. He touted the programs he launched during his nearly four decades in power.

They include the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt, which seeks to return lost funds to Iowans, and the 529 College Savings Program. It also operates Iowa’s ABLE plan for Iowans with disabilities.

Republican Senator Roby Smith of Davenport challenges Fitzgerald in the November election. From Thursday, Smith did not appear on the Soapbox speaker program. All candidates for statewide office were invited to speak there.

Before becoming a state senator, Smith was a banker for nearly 10 years and then became a small business owner.

Smith’s campaign website says he will work to protect the financial privacy of Iowans, improve financial literacy education, and continue to raise awareness of the tax-free college savings program and a savings program for Iowans with disabilities. It also says Smith will ensure that no Iowa taxpayer dollars are invested in programs that benefit countries that support terrorism.

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