Monday, October 30, 2006
In case you were wondering who was running for State Treasurer, here is an article from the Arkansas News Bureau on the treasurer race.
Martha ShoffnerFormer lawmaker, gubernatorial aide vie for treasurer's office
Sunday, Oct 29, 2006
By James Jefferson
Arkansas News Bureau LITTLE ROCK -
Martha Shoffner says she's driven more than 70,000 miles crisscrossing the state, and the campaign day is just beginning when the regular workday ends for Chris Morris - the candidates trying to persuade Arkansans they can be trusted with state money as treasurer.
Democrat Shoffner, a former three-term state legislator, and Republican Morris, an aide to Gov. Mike Huckabee seeking his first elected office, face off in the Nov. 7 general election for the open seat being vacated by retiring Treasurer Gus Wingfield.
Shoffner defeated Mac Campbell in the May Democratic primary. Morris signed up to run for the office on the last day of the filing period and did not draw a primary opponent.
The state treasurer's office receives most state funds and accounts for all money received and disbursed for more than 400 state accounts representing the fund equities of more than 200 state agencies. It disburses funds by redeeming warrants drawn on the state treasury.
The office serves as custodian and safekeeping agent for a dozen state systems with an average balance of more than $600 million. It manages and invests cash funds, and distributes county and municipal aid averaging $191 million annually.
Both candidates said they would work closely with the state's banking community to distribute state fund deposits fairly while getting the best possible rate of return.
Both said they would not practice nepotism in office. Wingfield drew criticism for hiring and promoting relatives in office.
A real estate agent, Shoffner, 61, of Newport, worked in the state auditor's office prior to her election to the state House of Representatives in 1994 and ran unsuccessfully for auditor in 2002 after serving six years in the Legislature.
She said she wants to use her state government experience - she served on the Joint Budget Committee and the Joint Committee on Public Retirement and Social Security Programs - to run an office that essentially is the state bank. Not having banking experience is not an issue, she said.
"I know the system and I love the political process," Shoffner said. "I'll go in with knowledge of state government and how it works. It's very important knowing the government experience."
Morris, 34, of Little Rock, says it's time for changes in statewide office. If elected, he would be the youngest of the state constitutional officers and the first black statewide officeholder since Reconstruction.
He is a 1996 graduate of Philander Smith College in Little Rock with a bachelor's degree in political science.
"I will bring a fresh face, new ideas, diversity to the table," he said.
He has maintained his full-time job, working 8 a.m.-5 p.m. as adviser to Huckabee on boards and commissions, executive clemency, extraditions and constituency services.
"After 5, I'm on the road campaigning. Weekends I'm hitting it pretty hard," Morris said. "I'm traveling the state, attending meetings, whether its a Lincoln Day dinner or speaking engagement, putting signs out. I'm intimate with my relationships. I'm not making a phone call to say 'do it,' I'm doing it myself.
"In heavily black districts, primarily in eastern Arkansas, Morris supporters have distributed leaflets criticizing Shoffner's legislative voting record on minority issues, including her "present" vote on 2001 legislation to establish the Daisy Gatson Bates Holiday Committee in honor of the late civil rights leader who was mentor to nine black students who integrated Little Rock Central High School in 1957.
Besides their constitutional duties, both candidates said they would be advocates as state officers. Shoffner said she would champion women's issues. Morris said he would promote a program to encourage home ownership.
NAME: Chris Morris
PARTY AFFILIATION: Republican
Born in Little Rock on Dec. 27, 1971
HOMETOWN: Little Rock
OCCUPATION: Advisor to Gov. Mike Huckabee on boards and commissions, executive clemency, extraditions and constituency services.
EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in political science from Philander Smith College.
POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Adviser to Gov. Mike Huckabee on boards and commissions, executive clemency, extraditions and constituency services.
NAME: Martha Anne Shoffner
PARTY AFFILIATION: Democrat
Born in Weldon (Jackson County) on July 10, 1944
OCCUPATION: Real estate agent.
EDUCATION: Attended Memphis State University, Arkansas State University
POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Three terms in state House of Representatives, 1997-2003.