The Speeder and Earl's coffee shop in Burlington is often where friends and neighbors come together to share news. It's also where the two women vying to be Vermont's next treasurer shared their plans for that office.
"As treasurer my bottom line is to maintain the state's good credit rating and the state's good financial health," said Beth Pearce, Democrat for Vt. Treasurer.
Pearce was appointed to the state's third highest post last year. Rutland's current treasurer Wendy Wilton hopes to unseat her.
"When you know how your state or your town is performing financially, you can have a really good dialogue with your governing body," said Wendy Wilton, Republican for Vt. Treasurer.
Pearce worked as Vermont's deputy treasurer for 7.5 years before Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont, picked her for her current job. She's spent decades in state finance, including stints in the Massachusetts Treasurer's office. She currently rents a home in Barre. We asked her if she plans to buy a home in Vermont.
"That is a personal choice. We're trying to think things through, but bottom line is Vermont is my home," Pearce said.
It's also where she feels she done some of her most impactful work.
"My life is about numbers and how those numbers impact Vermonters and it touches every person, every nonprofit, and every business in the state," Pearce said.
Pearce points to success refinancing state bonds and getting resources to cities and towns following Tropical Storm Irene as successes.
"Since I have been treasurer, our credit rating has improved in both our revenue bonds and in our general obligation bonds," Pearce said.
Wendy Wilton argues it's time for Pearce to go.
"I think it is very important that the chief financial officer, the treasurer of the state of Vermont, be completely independent from the administration and the Legislature," Wilton said.
Wilton is originally from South Burlington and later moved to Rutland. She spent one year in the state Senate before becoming city treasurer in 2007, where she points to a positive fund balance as a big accomplishment. She's raising issues with how Pearce has performed as treasurer.
"I don't think she is transparent about the state's finances," Wilton said.
Wilton says she has struggled to find financial information on the state's website and that requests for documentation from the treasurer have taken far too long.
"I would like to shine the light on the state's finances. Right now, the state is not transparent about the current budget, our performance on that budget, and many other fiscal issues that would be of interest to the voters and taxpayers of the state," Wilton said.
Pearce declined to speak to Wilton's record, but says as state treasurer she's made transparency a major goal.
"It is more transparent now than it has been in any time in the history of the treasurer's office," Pearce said.
Now it's up to voters to make the next move.
"I am not looking at this as a steppingstone to another office. This is what I do for a living," Pearce said.
"We need to be planning for our fiscal future, we need to be planning for our sustainability, that's what really excites me about this prospect," Wilton said.
Election Day is Nov. 6.
Beth Pearce was appointed treasurer by Gov. Shumlin when former treasurer Jeb Spaulding was selected to serve as his secretary of administration.
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