Treasurer Frerichs: Candidate Profile

Treasurer (Democratic)

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Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted. Jump to:BioQA Bio City: ChampaignWebsite: sought: Treasurer Age: 41Family: 1 daughter, Ella. Age 5.Occupation: Full Time State Senator for the 52nd DistrictEducation: Rantoul Township High School (1991) Yale University, BA in German Studies (1995)Civic involvement: Former Treasurer of the Midwest USA-China Association Former board member of local non-profit nursing home Former Gifford Fire Protection District Volunteer Firefighter Certified Public Finance Officer through Government Finance Officers Association Illinois Farm Bureau's "Friend of Agriculture" Award "Legislator of the Year" Award from both the Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts and the Illinois Professional Land Surveyors Association Named "Man of the Year" by Central Illinois Business Magazine in 2012Elected offices held: Champaign County Board: 2000-2002 Champaign County Auditor: 2002-2006 Illinois State Senate, 52nd District: 2007-presentHave you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.Questions Answers How would you streamline your office's duties to save the state money?On my first day in office, I will initiate a comprehensive audit of the Treasurer's office to identify waste and inefficiencies. The current Treasurer built an internship program promoting I-Cash that cost state taxpayers over $300,000 in just two years. I-Cash is a worthwhile program but should have never become this bloated to serve what is clearly a political purpose. We should also move more I-Cash functions and promotions online. I will partner with civic groups, universities, community organizations, and other units of government to use their existing events and outreach as opportunities to promote I-Cash to reduce advertising costs.What is something the office could be doing now that it isn't?The Treasurer should put out for bid the management contract of the stateâ#128;™s 529 college savings plan, BrightStart. The current manager, OppenheimerFunds, is under federal investigation for money laundering, improper penny stock sales, and inadequate supervision of a former advisor. It is time to look in a new direction and use competition to drive down fees for families who enroll. BrightStart is a powerful tool for families to save for their childrenâ#128;™s college education. A competitive bidding process for a new money manager should find the most qualified firm and lower costs for working families who invest in the program.What in your background makes you qualified for a specialized office like this?I am the only candidate in this race who has the financial background and skills that this office needs. As a Certified Public Finance Office and former Champaign County Auditor, I received national recognition for my officeâ#128;™s financial reporting. In the Senate I have served as the Chairman of the Senateâ#128;™s Higher Education Committee and past Chairman of the Agriculture and Conservation Committee: two areas where the Treasurerâ#128;™s office makes investments. I have also served on the Financial Institutions Committee and the Pensions and Investment Committee. I currently serve as a Co-Chairman of the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability.Should your office be combined with the comptroller's?I voted in 2011 to allow the voters of Illinois to decide if the offices of Comptroller and Treasurer should merge in a statewide referendum. This measure passed the Senate but never came for a vote in the House. I believe the merger can be good for Illinois, but I also believe we cannot wait to start to find ways to save money in the Treasurer's office. That is why I will push for a comprehensive audit and work with whomever is elected Comptroller to find ways that our offices can work together to eliminate redundancies.What would you change about how the state invests its money?The Treasurerâ#128;™s office has powerful tools available to directly invest in creating jobs and building a stronger economy in Illinois. Yet too often, they have been poorly utilized under the current Treasurer. In 2011, I voted to give the Treasurer more power to invest state funds in Illinois-based venture capital. Unfortunately, Treasurer Rutherford has invested no more than 0.5% of the Illinois Fund when state law allows up to 3%. With more than $12 billion in state funds, 3% means more than $300 million in potential Illinois investment in entrepreneurs and businesses that can create jobs in our state.What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?Experience and reform are two very important issues for this office. I will end political cronyism in the Treasurer's office and restore a commitment to help middle-class families succeed and grow every day as Treasurer. I want to make more investments in our people and our communities so we can again bring back a sense of hope and more opportunities for our children. I will use my financial experience to make sure that we make wise investments, so that together, we can all work on rebuilding Illinois.Please name one current leader who most inspires you.I have always been impressed by Jesse White's integrity and energy and his service to this state, both in office and through volunteer efforts.What's the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?My parents taught me to work hard and and treat people with respect. They didn't just tell me this, they taught me through their actions.If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?I try and live life without regrets.What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?I always enjoyed history classes and continue to read history to this day. I have learned many life lessons from the mistakes of others.If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?"Work hard and treat people with respect" was good advice from my parents, and I'm striving every day to pass that down to my daughter.