By Patsy R. Brumfield | NEMS Daily Journal
State treasurer hopefuls Lynn Fitch and Connie Moran each predict their executive experience means success as the state’s next treasurer.
Moran, 56, a Democrat, points to the progress of her Ocean Springs hometown during her six years as mayor. She took office six weeks before Hurricane Katrina.
Fitch, 50, a Republican, cites her time as executive director of the State Personnel Board and as a bond attorney.
The women, both single moms, meet head-on in the Nov. 8 general election to succeed Tate Reeves, who faces only token opposition to be the next lieutenant governor.
Fitch’s glossy campaign is well financed: She’s raised nearly $625,000 this year, with $252,000 from her family. She’s spent $470,000 through a party primary fight and the general election.
Moran’s is more blue-collar, on a shoe string, with just $41,525 raised and $64,229 spent without a primary opponent.
But Moran’s a Gulf Coast fighter and she’s confident her broad experience with economic development and community building make her the right person to take the office in January.
She terms herself as a “job and wealth creator” and insists if she’s elected, she will fight off efforts to change the Public Employees Retirement System.
“I pledge to maintain the integrity of the system as it stands today,” she said recently.
Holly Springs native Fitch is quick to agree, saying she’s “100 percent committed” to upholding PERS.
“I’m vested in the system myself,” she noted, “and it’s important to provide what we said on the front end” to all counting on the system to support their retirement years.
Moran’s platform includes using the treasurer’s office to expand the college savings program and to be a watchdog for public dollars. To reach that goal, she wants to create an online, searchable database throughout state government to monitor spending.
Both agree the treasurer can wield strong influence as a member of numerous state boards and in providing financial advice throughout state government.
Both stress a keen desire to assist economic development statewide, as well as offer advice to the Legislature as it develops state budgets.
Fitch says she believes her state experience provides her with insights about management efficiencies and cost savings for other agencies.
Moran’s experience runs across international borders. She was Mississippi’s economic development representative in Europe for several years. Her 16-year-old daughter, who suffers from cerebral palsy and autism, was born there.
Both candidates agree they can be an effective part of the state executive management team.