Candidates differ on state treasurer's mission
With the race for Illinois treasurer relatively free of the animosity shown at the top of the ticket, the two mainstream candidates sometimes struggle to make their pitches to voters.
Incumbent Michael Frerichs, a former Democratic state senator from Champaign who was elected treasurer in 2014, says the office can be more than an investments manager. "I've got real opportunities," says Frerichs, who has initiated programs to give small-business employees access to a 401(k)-style savings plan, expanded a program to help families of children with disabilities save for the future, and made it easier for residents to save for college.
"Let's just focus on the core duties," counters challenger Jim Dodge, a Republican from Orland Park. While Illinois is making more money from its investments that it was four years ago, Dodge contends he could do better.
"I built a great business career while simultaneously serving on the Orland Park board. The combination of those two gives me a great skill set," says Dodge, a consultant before leaving to work full time on his campaign.
Both candidates said they would be open to the idea of merging the treasurer's office with the controller's office in an attempt to cut costs. Michael Leheney, who lives in Bourbonnais and works in financial analysis for Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurants, is the Libertarian Party candidate.