Treasurer McCord: The smart, skilled incumbent deserves a new term

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State Treasurer Rob McCord really loves his job.

Mr. McCord, a Democrat, is a gregarious, talkative guy anyway, which makes him a natural in statewide politics. But when he starts explaining the big picture and all the minutiae that's involved in being the state's chief investment officer, it's obvious that he not only knows his subject but also is in his element.

Mr. McCord, 53, of the Philadelphia suburb of Bryn Mawr, holds a bachelor's degree from Harvard, earned an MBA from the Wharton School and had a career as a venture capitalist and head of a technology trade association before winning the position of state treasurer in 2008, his first elective office. He lives and breathes investment strategy, financial management and organizational planning.

He is widely considered to be a future gubernatorial candidate, but this year he seeks re-election as treasurer, running against Republican Washington County Commissioner Diana Irey Vaughan. Libertarian Patricia Fryman of Venango County is also on the ballot.

Ms. Irey Vaughan, 50, of Nottingham first won election in 1995, and she is vice chair of the county commission. In 2006, she ran an unsuccessful campaign for Congress against the late John Murtha.

She and Mr. McCord agree that an important task of the treasurer is serving on the state's largest pension boards, those for state employees and educators. In a meeting with Post-Gazette editors, she argued that the state has too much of its portfolio invested in hedge funds and said she would reduce risks. Mr. McCord says that under his leadership the treasurer's office has been a "profit center."

In particular, he said three-year earnings on the college savings program for families and both state pension plans exceeded 10 percent, despite a less-than-robust economy.

Where Ms. Irey Vaughan says the treasurer's office should do more outreach to reunite unclaimed financial properties with their owners, Mr. McCord says he has reduced processing time for claims significantly, reached out to businesses to recoup their losses and increased cash flow from the program by 88 percent.

Ms. Irey Vaughan has performed admirably for her Washington County constituents, but she is no match for the incumbent. The Post-Gazette endorses Rob McCord, who has worked enthusiastically to earn a second term as treasurer.

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