State treasurer debate gets testy

In open seat race, Republican Folwell blames Democrats for mismanaging State Health Plan, pension fund; Democrat Blue says GOP's response is draconian program cuts

During a contentious debate Tuesday night, Republican state treasurer candidate Dale Folwell hammered repeatedly on the theme that the state health care plan is broke, the state pension plan is underperforming, and his Democratic opponent Dan Blue III attended fundraisers in New York City where Wall Street investment managers reap large, undisclosed payouts from the state.

Blue said all candidates receive donations from many sources, but that doesn’t mean they are influenced by the cash. He said Folwell boasts of eliminating a $2.7 billion federal unemployment insurance debt, but he did so by reducing benefits, and that is not the right solution for State Health Plan and retirement system participants.

The candidates took turns explaining the high stakes of electing the next state treasurer to a down-ballot office that draws little notice even though its $87.57 billion retirement system is one of the largest in the world, and its obligations reach nearly every aspect of public policy in state government.

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