Abandoning her run to be the Governor of Connecticut, Indian American Dita Bhargava has announced that she will run for State Treasurer instead, according to an official statement. Her reason for switching from gubernatorial to treasurer candidate is because she believes her financial background is better suited to the state’s treasurer post, she told the publication. Bhargava had called a press conference for Monday morning, Feb. 26, in Hartford to formally launch her revamped campaign for the treasurer’s position.
“This fall and winter, as I explored running for statewide office, I visited more than 60 towns across Connecticut to learn about the challenges facing our state. I heard the concerns you voiced over rising living costs and college tuition, escalating taxes, increasing budget deficits, our exodus of young workers, and the future of our pension system, among many other issues,” Bhargava said in the statement.
“Hearing these stories has emboldened my commitment to public service and helped strengthen the fiscal and economic foundations of our state. It’s also led me to reconsider how I can best harness my strengths, knowledge, and experiences in ways that best serve our citizens,” she added.
Bhargava said that the state will need to be steered in a new direction as Denise Nappier completes her 20-year tenure as state Treasurer. “During her tenure, Denise has expanded the discussion on corporate governance to include an awareness of businesses’ social and environmental impact. She has been a tireless advocate for better financial literacy in our state, where we lag behind our peers. The next Treasurer should have an appreciation for these issues, as well as a comprehensive knowledge of finance, investing, and the economy,” Bhargava stated, adding that her upbringing, professional experience in the financial sector and her progressive vision “are what Connecticut needs in our next Treasurer.”
Bhargava also mentioned in the statement that she wants to find solutions for the middle- and working-class families of Connecticut and she believes she can do so since she has that financial experience on Wall Street as well as in the nonprofit area where she “spent many years helping underserved communities and advocating for family-friendly policies such as paid family leave and equal pay for equal work.”
“I’m fully prepared to steer Connecticut’s financial future in these challenging times. We’re already in a prolonged budgetary crisis, and Donald Trump’s federal tax plan—and the large deficits it will incur—may threaten Connecticut’s fiscal stability and its pension portfolio, already hard-pressed to match liabilities. The people of our state – retirees, workers, students, and the most vulnerable—need and deserve protection. I feel confident that with my experience, vision, and dedication, I’m the candidate most qualified and best equipped to lead our state back to fiscal and economic stability,” Bhargava stated.
Her fundraising haul puts her well ahead of the $75,000 small contribution threshold qualifying for public campaign financing for treasurer if she gets onto the primary ballot.
Former Hartford City Council President Shawn Wooden and Hartford lawyer Arunan Arulampalam, both Democrats, are running for treasurer. On the Republican side, state Sen. Art Linares, R-Westbrook, and former investment executive Thad Gray, of Lakeville, are candidates.
A record number of people are competing to be governor, including the mayors of Hartford and Bridgeport, Luke Bronin and Joe Ganim; former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz; Ned Lamont, the 2010 primary runner-up and cable television entrepreneur; and the former consumer protection and veterans affairs commissioners Jonathan Harris and Sean Connolly.
“I think we have some real talent in the gubernatorial race,” Bhargava said. “I want to make sure that we have the strongest Democratic ticket possible. It’s very important that we keep our state blue.”
Bhargava is an active volunteer and supporter of the Clinton Foundation, Robin Hood Foundation and Inspirica Women’s Shelter and in January of 2017, she was unanimously elected Vice Chair of the Connecticut State Democratic Party, according to her website.