As Arizona Treasurer, Martin Quezada Will Invest in Affordable Housing, Water Supply and Public Schools

Martin Quezada is running to be Arizona’s Treasurer. He has been a State Senator for Phoenix and Glendale for the last eight years and previously served in the State House before that. He has also been a Pendergast Elementary school board member for the last 12 years.

Here are highlights of his talk to Democrats of Greater Tucson on August 1, 2022:

The Treasurer is an essential office, but it has been used as a stepping stone to run for higher office. Doug Ducey was a former Treasurer, and he used that office to prop up his run for governor

There’s a lot of good that the Treasurer could do for Arizona. I wanted to throw my name into the ring to recreate this office. We can turn this office into something that the people of Arizona can really be proud of. We can turn this office into something that proactively helps the state of Arizona to provide services, provide information, and help Arizona become a better place.

What the Treasurer does

The office has three basic functions:

  • Number one, you’re the Chief Banker of the state of Arizona. The Treasurer makes sure the money goes where it’s supposed to go.
  • Number two, you’re the Chief Investment Officer of the state of Arizona. The Treasurer has between $30 and $55 billion worth of taxpayer money to invest in our community and for the betterment of the state of Arizona.

That’s a lot of money, and we can make our money work for us. I’m going to create a portfolio that invests in our values and things that give a greater return so there’s less of a need to tax people. The Treasurer can invest more money for things like our schools, roads, healthcare system, affordable housing, and everything we care about. We can create that money without taxing people by having a good investment portfolio and having a wise investor in that position.

Arizona has invested more than a billion dollars in Facebook, Amazon, fossil fuels, gun manufacturers and the prison-industrial complex. Imagine if we instead invested that money into clean energy and green energy. Imagine if we invested in corporations that paid their employees a living wage. Imagine if we invested in organizations that promoted more affordable housing. We can move that money around and make it work for us for the things that we care about.

  • The third function of the Treasurer is to act as the Chief Financial Officer. That means you have a platform to speak to the Arizona public, the legislature, and the governor about financial issues. You can use that influence to influence any decision that impacts our financial situation in the state of Arizona.

And here’s a great thing about that. Every issue in Arizona has a dollar-and-cents aspect to it. Every issue in Arizona impacts our economy in some way. Every issue in Arizona impacts our state’s financial stability in one way or another. Investing in public schools will create a stronger economy.

The Treasurer must speak out

The Treasurer should be advocating for healthcare for all. Instead, we spend more of our national GDP on an inadequate healthcare system. That’s far more per person than any other country worldwide. And despite doing so, Americans have the worst health outcomes and the highest infant mortality rates. That impacts our economy, finances, and ability to collect taxes.

The Treasurer should be speaking out about and advocating for all those things. I would do that as our State Treasurer. I would advocate for good uses of our taxpayer money, responsible uses of our taxpayer money and investment in things that will create a stronger economy.

Furthermore, I’m an attorney by trade. So I understand how to get things done legally, which will be important in the Treasurer’s office because there’s no other candidate with a legal background as I have. But having that legal background will be the most important aspect of running that office.

I also have political experience after serving in the legislature. I know how to get things done in a political environment. I know how to be a politician.

I know how to balance political expectations with the institutional needs of our state to get things done effectively and responsibly. And lastly, I’m a member of our community, and I’ve been an advocate in this community. So, I understand, and I share our values, and I’m going to make those values be reflected.

Quezada vs. GOP extremist

We’re going to have a real battle on our hands. So, I need your support. I especially need Pima County. I especially need Tucson to turn out and vote and to understand the importance of an office like this that manages our taxpayer dollars.

The incumbent I mentioned before was originally running for governor. Her name’s Kimberly Yee, and she dropped out of that race after she just wasn’t gaining any steam. But she raised a lot of money for her governor’s race and transferred it all over to the Treasurer’s race. So, she’s got a nice little pot of money that she will use.

She is a candidate who supports Trump. She’s got the power of the incumbency, but it’s not a sure thing. I think it’s going to be a closer race than a lot of people realize.

I am running as a traditional candidate. I wanted to run a competitive campaign, meaning that clean elections work for some offices and don’t work for other offices. We wanted to try to raise more than clean elections would give us. We’re doing well so far. We’ve outperformed, but we still have a long way to go. I’m catching up, but I need a lot of help. So, I would encourage you to please consider donating

Rent control

I sponsored a rent control bill in the legislature this year. I’ve introduced hundreds of bills over my time in the legislature. But I never got more support from the public than I did for that rent control bill. This is a major problem in Arizona. The housing affordable housing crisis that we’re in needs 270,000 additional homes to tackle that housing crisis. That’s according to our own housing department.

There is a record number of affordable housing complexes that corporate investors are purchasing. Then they are raising the rents and making them no longer affordable to people. This is a huge issue, and I believe that it is something that the Treasurer should have to speak about.

One of the issues that the Treasurer should work on as a focus is affordable housing. In addition, other Democratic state Treasurers across the nation have put together housing committees that directly work on the housing crisis issue in their states.

And so I’m studying which approach works best to formulate, create, and propose my own here in Arizona. Because I think that housing is something that we definitely need to be working on. And I think the Treasurer is a perfect office to tackle that crisis. So, I will also be putting together a plan to address the housing crisis.

Water shortage

Water is definitely the number one issue. Again, the Treasurer can play a huge role in protecting and managing our water. And here’s the way that we invest in corporations. You can ask them, how are you going to use water? If you build a corporation in Arizona, how are you protecting water in that community?

Are you being efficient with your water usage? Are you being wasteful in your use of water? If so, we will not invest in you as a state. We can score corporations on how they manage and use water and make our decisions on whether we invest in them based on that water usage.

That does create a huge influence and pressure for corporations that want to do business with the state of Arizona to manage and use their water better. Pressure is sometimes needed to make the private sector act because they’re about making money first.

I think that should be factored into every investment decision — the impact on our state’s water, our supply, the preservation, and the management of our water.

The use of water in the state of Arizona has a huge impact on our economy. Nothing is going to impact our financial stability more than our water. So again, using that voice to speak out about water and how it will affect our economy and financial stability. I think that is a role that the Treasurer should be playing.

Private prisons

I speak about the private prison-industrial complex in general because it has moved beyond simply having prisons. They also privatize many other services that feed into the prison-industrial complex. So, whether we invest in those services is a decision that the Treasurer can make. The use of private prisons by the state of Arizona is a bad financial decision. It is a bad use of money. And so, if we communicate that more to the public from the Treasurer’s office, we can create more public knowledge, influence, and pressure for the legislature to make different decisions regarding how we manage our corrections industry.

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