Wooden: treasurer should make socially responsible investing

Shawn Wooden thinks Connecticut can apply the old adage of “money talks” by using the state’s investment practices to support businesses with sound practices or that produce positive outcomes for the state. 

He said the goal should be to both “get appropriate returns” on investments and to leverage those funds to improve Connecticut. 

“These are not mutually exclusive concepts,” he said Wednesday during an interview for the Record-Journal’s “Morning Record” podcast. “What I would want to look for as state treasurer is to get what I call a double- or triple-bottom line.”

Wooden, the Democratic nominee for treasurer, is hoping that message will also resonate with voters and propel him to victory over Republican Thad Gray in the November election. 

Wooden spent four years as president of Hartford’s City Council, from 2012 to 2016, and is a partner for the law firm Day Pitney’s investment management and private funds practice, representing public pension funds. 

While Connecticut can use “socially responsible investing” in ways that improve the state, Wooden said that’s not the only benefit. 

He said manufacturers of certain products, such as firearms, or those with poor track records handling certain issues, like sexual harassment and misconduct, face additional costs through lawsuits and settlements. 

That, in turn, could mean a lower return for Connecticut, he said. 

Voters are paying little attention to the race, though, which is why Wooden has made educating the public on the job part of his campaign. He notes the treasurer also sits on 20 public boards, including the State Bond Commission and the Connecticut Port and Airport authorities. 

He said his experience on Hartford’s city council should also be attractive to voters, particularly pushing then Mayor Pedro Segarra to fully fund the city’s pensions. While Connecticut’s pension fund is only 38 percent funded, Hartford’s is 74 percent funded. 

He agrees that the Hartford bailout, which was put into place only this year, was not handled properly. Wooden also defended his track record in handling the city’s finances, saying the problems started before he was elected council presidents. 

He also said critics of the city’s funding the $71 million Dunkin’ Donuts Park are “simply clueless as to the reality that is taking place, or just flat out dishonest.” 

Wooden pointed to the stadiums early success and said plans for additional development in the Downtown North area of Hartford, or DoNo, are “not done yet in terms of the overall vision.” 

For more from Wooden, listen to the “Morning Record,” the Record-Journal’s daily news podcast, at https://bit.ly/2pOcRbQ


Twitter: @reporter_savino