Ronnie's vision as Treasurer includes careful financial management and innovative solutions to best serve the people and communities of our state.
What Does the State Treasurer Do?
North Carolina's Treasurer is one of the most powerful state government positions in the entire country. There is no other job quite like it.
The Treasurer is our Chief Financial Officer.
The Treasurer is the sole trustee of our state's $95 billion pension fund. That means that we elect this individual every 4 years to decide how to invest state employee pensions across stocks, bonds, and other asset classes.
The Treasurer pays for more health care than anyone else in North Carolina.
The Treasurer runs the State Health Plan, which covers 720,000 state employees and their families. The Treasurer must negotiate with hospitals across all 100 counties to ensure that health care is affordable and accessible for every North Carolinian covered by the State Health Plan.
The Treasurer approves and issues all the bonds that drive progress across North Carolina.
The Treasurer leads the Local Government Commission, which approves all state and local bonds. Since we use debt to build nearly everything from water lines to schools and broadband, the Treasurer can shape what we build and how we build it.
The Treasurer is our Chief Economic Officer.
The Treasurer has many other responsibilities that relate to how we make North Carolina's economy more prosperous. The Treasurer leads the State Banking Commission and sits on the State Board of Education and the Communities Colleges Board. The State Treasurer should be the key economic policy leader in our state, shaping how we develop our workforce, how we support growing companies and create jobs, and how we help more of our fellow citizens save for retirement.
What Could the State Treasurer Do?
After understanding what the Treasurer does, the more exciting conversation is what the office could do with the right person in the job. I believe the Treasurer could improve the lives of all people in our state. There is significant untapped potential in the job. If elected, here are my priorities:
SAVE AND INVEST
Advocate for Individual Retirement Accounts for every North Carolinian
We must help more of our fellow citizens save for retirement. If elected your next Treasurer, my number one legislative priority would be the creation of individual retirement accounts for every working North Carolinian. North Carolina employers who do not currently offer a plan could be automatically enrolled. These programs increase savings for working families and help build a solid foundation for retirement. Employees could opt out at any time, and the Treasurer’s office could leverage our expertise and scale to manage the accounts at low cost. We could incorporate lessons from other states that have been piloting these programs to ensure we offer the best possible product to North Carolina workers. A program like this which is universal, market-based and low-cost would benefit all employees.
Responsibly improve how North Carolina manages its money
To manage North Carolina’s money well, we need the best managers in the world to work with us. I want to ensure that the state has a diverse pool of candidates so that we can choose the right fit for North Carolina. As Treasurer, I would launch a redesigned Emerging Managers program and modify our interview process to incorporate the best practices from the private sector on diversity and inclusion.
We also need to account for new risks and opportunities in our portfolio. The world’s top investors are incorporating environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) assessments in their asset allocation decisions. I would hire an ESG analyst in the Treasurer's office so North Carolina can have the expertise to stay competitive.
Finally, we must review our current asset allocation. We have a 20th century mindset that is holding us back, and North Carolina is missing investment opportunities that other states and nations are taking advantage of. If elected, I would conduct a full review of our holdings, with special attention to the percentage of assets we hold in cash and in alternative investments.
Fight for a more inclusive economy
The Treasurer manages $95 billion in assets which is like having 95 billion votes on the way the economy works and who it works for. The public pension fund has a say in the companies where it invests. As the sole trustee of the state pension fund, the Treasurer has an enormous responsibility to wisely and transparently wield its shareholder power. I would prioritize two issues in the resolutions I support as a shareholder. I would require companies to publicly disclose their political giving, including any dark money contributions. Second, I would support resolutions to diversify boards of directors.
Increase workers on boards
I recommend increasing the voices of workers by allowing employees to elect a portion of board members in companies that receive state pension fund investments. When workers have representation at the highest levels, they are more likely to receive higher wages, secure better benefits, and be more productive. As a shareholder and sole trustee, the Treasurer has tremendous power to influence corporations and how they treat their workers. This idea is one of many ways to use our shareholder power for the good of workers in North Carolina and across the country.
Support entrepreneurial ecosystems around the state
We can do more around North Carolina to support entrepreneurs and small businesses. I recommend creating an accelerator match fund to support the development and scaling up of business accelerators around the state. Any participating accelerator would have to be rigorously evaluated and focused on an industry that is a good match for the region.
PROTECT AND BUILD
Advocate for the expansion of Medicaid
I would actively support the expansion of Medicaid across North Carolina. The evidence shows that this expansion will help our economy and improve the health of the hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians who do not have insurance coverage. Expanding Medicaid would also provide a foundation to reform the state health plan that the Treasurer manages.
Provide paid parental leave for employees
I would offer employees of the Treasurer’s office paid family leave. Our current Treasurer notably declined to offer this benefit to the 422 workers in his office despite nearly every other state agency choosing to do so. If elected, I would immediately reverse this decision and advance policies to support the working people in my office and beyond.
Align our health care spending with outcomes
North Carolina's largest payer of health care needs to be smart about how we approach this responsibility. Rather than dramatic cuts to health care that divide the state, we need to collaborate with patients, providers, insurance companies, health systems and everyone else who plays a role in our health care system. The goal should be to align the billions we pay each year in health care costs with healthy outcomes for North Carolinians. I want North Carolina to be the leader in smart payments for healthcare and will make that a reality as Treasurer.
Support green bonds
The Treasurer leads the Local Government Commission, which approves and issues all bonds in the state of North Carolina. In addition to performing this role well, I want to work with North Carolina municipalities to issue “green bonds” to finance infrastructure projects. This $11 billion market is growing rapidly and I want to North Carolina to be the leader in attracting financing from investors that care about sustainability.