TREASURER CANDIDATES

The Treasurer administers the State’s pension assets and investment funds. View candidates for other offices here.

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DITA BHARGAVA

Democratic candidate for Treasurer
Campaign website:  www.ditaforCT.com
Occupation: No response
Previous Elected Offices: None

What is your education story?

My two siblings and I were raised in Canada by our mother, who instilled belief in the promise of education. She encouraged me to work hard and seek out an education; I attended McMaster University and studied Electrical and Computer Engineering. One of only a few women to obtain such a degree, I was motivated by support system to achieve that goal. I was lucky to have a parent who encouraged me and my siblings to work hard and get an education, knowing that it can lead the way to success. 

If kids aren’t reading on grade level by third grade, research is clear that they’re less likely to graduate.
75% of third-graders in Bridgeport aren’t reading on grade level. What will you do to change this if elected? 

We’ve been battling over education funding for more than a decade, and our children are getting left behind because of it. We need a better formula to fund our schools to make sure that all children are given the same opportunities and the same access to education, lunch and resources critical to success.  

Should Bridgeport receive increased education funding from the state? Why or why not?

Yes, plain and simple. Bridgeport must have increased education funding from the state. There is so much untapped potential from our students in Bridgeport as a direct result of underfunding. We must provide appropriate funding and resources to Bridgeport children and school systems. When our most at risk students are not receiving the education they deserve, we all suffer. 

Why do you believe Bridgeport residents should vote for you? 

I understand what it is like to struggle despite an existing system that dictates you’re not entitled to success because of your background. My family and I worked as hard as we could so we could go to college. Just like my family, Connecticut’s children can’t hope for luck; we have to work hard so our children have every door open to them. That is the most important job of Connecticut’s next Treasurer. 

 

THAD GRAY

Republican candidate for Treasurer
Declined to Respond

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ART LINARES

Republican candidate for Treasurer
Campaign website: www.linaresfortreasurer.com
Occupation: State Senator, Investor and Business Owner
Previous Elected Offices: State Senator

What is your education story?

I am the son of a Cuban immigrant and attended public schools my entire life. I graduated from the Sykes College of Business at the University of Tampa in Florida, where I majored in entrepreneurship, developing my own company, Greenskies Renewable Energy as I earned a college degree. In the Senate, I served on the Education committee and as Chair of the Higher Education Committee and personally blocked bills that were harmful to education reform. 

If kids aren’t reading on grade level by third grade, research is clear that they’re less likely to graduate.
75% of third-graders in Bridgeport aren’t reading on grade level. What will you do to change this if elected? 

Schools of Choice such as Charter schools, Magnet schools and faith based parochial schools have done an excellent job increasing literacy rates among high school graduates. I support increasing funding to schools of choice which will increase literacy rates. We should encourage public school administrators to learn from the success of charter schools and implement similar programs. We must give the superintendents of schools and principals more authority to have oversight over programs and curriculum.  

Should Bridgeport receive increased education funding from the state? Why or why not?

Yes, we should always be looking to invest more in Education. Currently, 35% of our state budget goes to pension and health care benefits and those costs are growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 5.9%. Hence, these costs are crowding out our ability to invest in education.

Why do you believe Bridgeport residents should vote for you? 

I believe Bridgeport residents should vote for me because I am the only candidate who has fought for school choice, education reform and is not in debt to the teacher union in our state. I have fought for education savings accounts, similar to vouchers, which would allow parents to send their children to parochial schools or charter schools. I have talked the talk and walked the walk.

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SHAWN WOODEN

Democratic candidate for Treasurer
Campaign website: www.shawnwooden.com
Occupation: Attorney
Previous Elected Offices: Hartford City Council President

What is your education story?

I grew up in Hartford, participated in Project Concern, a de-segregation busing program, and attended Manchester Public Schools. I graduated from Manchester High School with honors. Then went on to earn a four-year academic scholarship to Trinity College in Hartford, where I now serve as a member of its Board of Trustees.

If kids aren’t reading on grade level by third grade, research is clear that they’re less likely to graduate.
75% of third-graders in Bridgeport aren’t reading on grade level. What will you do to change this if elected? 

The job of Treasurer involves more than managing the State’s finances, and investing billions of dollars in pension funds. The job is also about empowering people, particularly young people, to take control of their financial destiny. As Treasurer, I believe that it is critical to arm our children with the tools they need to manage their own finances, to understand how to establish credit and to balance a budget.

Should Bridgeport receive increased education funding from the state? Why or why not?

A quality education for all of Connecticut’s children is perhaps our most important priorities. We need to make sure that cities like Bridgeport receive the resources necessary to properly educate our children. The current Educational Cost Sharing policy needs to be reevaluated to make certain that are most vulnerable communities are provided with the resources needed to properly educate our children.

Why do you believe Bridgeport residents should vote for you? 

I have a proven track record of fighting for Connecticut’s working families for the past twenty five years. As the former President of the Hartford City Council and Chairman of the Council’s budget and finance committee, I know how difficult it is to balance a budget in challenging times, with competing agendas, while maintaining a commitment to growth and opportunity that the people of Bridgeport and the State of Connecticut deserve and need. 


FaithActs for Education is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that does not endorse any candidate or party. Candidates' views are presented for educational purposes only. Responses were limited to 75 words per question. Aside from editing for length, candidates' responses are presented exactly as submitted.