La. treasurer candidates spar over who is most conservative; offer few specifics on job duties

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The top three Republican candidates for state treasurer sparred Monday at a forum, each attempting to prove they are more conservative than their counterparts. When it came to key questions about the actual duties of the job, the candidates offered few specifics.

The three Republicans, Angele Davis, Neil Riser, and John Schroder, went head to head at the Baton Rouge Press Club's meeting. The sole Democrat, Derrick Edwards, was a no-show.

"I have a clear conservative voting record, the most conservative voting record of anyone in this race," said Riser, who currently serves as a state senator.

"My whole background is conservative as far as being in the business world," said Schroder, a former state representative who resigned from office amid the campaign.

"I'll work tirelessly. I'm honest. I'm a conservative," said Davis, who served as Commissioner of Administration at the beginning of the Jindal administration.

The three candidates spent a lot of time flaunting their right wing credentials, calling for cuts to state spending, no new taxes, and more. However, as reported last week, those sorts of actions are not within the treasurer's power.

"They have about as much role in cutting taxes as the LSU football coach does," said political analyst, Jim Engster.

Part of the treasurer's job is managing the state's investments. When asked about the status of a fund set up to help pay for K-12 schools and higher education, a fund they would oversee, the candidates were short on details.

"I don't know what the balance of that fund is," said Schroder.

"I can't give you a specific number," said Riser.

"I don't know where the current return on investment is for that fund, but I know that they're all pretty low," said Davis.

That said, candidates did indicate they want to make sure investments are evaluated and well managed, so the state's taxpayers get the most bang for their buck.

"It should face the same scrutiny that every dollar we spend. We have to treat a penny like a dollar," said Schroder.

"I'm going to give an example of one of them. It's been invested in golf courses, and I can tell you clearly, that is not good banking practices," said Riser.

"I will make sound investment policies. I will make sure that I safeguard our hard-earned taxpayer dollars," said Davis.

Election day is set for Saturday October 14. Early voting begins this Saturday, September 30.

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