City of residence: Denver
Profession: Commercial real estate
Campaign website: brianwatson.vote
What makes you the best choice for this office?
My core principles are built around people-driven solutions, stewardship and fiscal responsibility. I have dedicated my life to building bridges and finding solutions to complex problems — the types of problems that our next state treasurer will face on day one. I am the only candidate for state treasurer who has worked in the private sector serving in a fiduciary role, making me uniquely qualified for this important office.
Describe your leadership style.
As one of my campaign pledges, I will not take a salary from the government for serving as Colorado's treasurer, as I want to truly serve you and set a precedent from day one of saving every tax dollar possible. My goal is always to bring people together to solve problems. Our state needs a treasurer willing to make hard decisions and find innovative solutions to problems, and I will work tirelessly on your behalf.
What are the most important duties of the state treasurer?
Being a steward of every taxpayer dollar is paramount. This includes investing taxpayer dollars responsibly and making our state government more transparent and accountable. Serving on the PERA (Public Employees' Retirement Association) board is the greatest challenge for the state treasurer. The $32 billion unfunded liability our state faces is unsustainable, but the state treasurer must be people-driven in order to find a solution that works for both our public employees and the taxpayers. This task is priority number one.
What policy changes would you implement?
The treasurer's office is responsible for managing the Great Colorado Payback, a program that seeks to reunite over $600 million in cash and assets to their rightful owners. I would reform this program to become more proactive in finding the lawful owner of this cash and property. I would also urge the General Assembly to reinstate a moratorium on unclaimed property that would block the state from appropriating the property for its own use.
If elected, what will your top priority be in January?
My first goal will be to reach out personally to each board member of PERA and meet with them — something that no state treasurer has done before. We must create relationships and build bridges to have the conversations necessary to address this enormous challenge. I will also look at our state's investments and find opportunities for greater return and more realistic expectations so that we do not face further shortfalls in PERA.
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