Seth Magaziner is running for Rhode Island General Treasurer in order to bring new energy and fresh ideas to our state government. He’s full of both! At a recent breakfast at Kosy Korner, the 30 year old Brown (Bachelor) and Yale (Master of business administration) graduate outlined his reasons for running for the Treasurer’s post.
This Rhode Island native has an impressive background in public service. Following Hurricane Katrina’s devastation in Louisiana, Seth lived and taught for two years in a rural, overcrowded school with displaced residents. Nary a week went by without one of his students leaving school because his family left to secure employment elsewhere. He learned firsthand how economics and market forces profoundly affect quality of life. This experience made him committed to financial literacy education, as well as using his skills to empower working people to take charge of their lives.
Magaziner’s work as Vice President of Trillium Asset Management, a socially responsible investment firm which managed a billion and a half dollars of investor’s money, further burnished his professional experience.
Seeking the Treasurer’s post, Seth first and foremost is focused on implementing a fiscally prudent management approach which maximizes the rate of return with lower risk. He thinks that all avenues of investment should be in play, depending upon the economic picture. Long term ‘lock-ups’ with any investment which requires more than a year commitment to a strategy should usually be avoided and all fees have to be transparent and accessible to the public on the State Treasurer’s website.
His ideas include assisting cities and towns with developing the tools each need to manage their finances and investments wisely. He would offer the opportunity to pool inter-town investments to reduce fees. Correspondingly, he would also investigate a similar pooling arrangement among states in order to get better fee arrangements.
Mr. Magaziner wants to build on the Treasurer Raimondo/Speaker Fox initiative to upgrade our state’ infrastructure, from roads and bridges to school buildings, and to invest in early childhood education and public colleges and universities. Paralleling the Clean Water State Revolving Fund , a similar plan would be implemented for school repairs and energy efficiency retrofits for buildings. All the aforesaid efforts would not only reduce fees for municipalities but also generate jobs.
His background working among the disadvantaged has made him sensitive to predatory lending, not only for payday loans which can charge effective interest rates of nearly 300% but also other practices. Magaziner cited a recent Brookings Institute study which illustrated that poor people who resort to pawn shops for check cashing will spend $ 40,000 over a lifetime. ‘‘That same $40,000 would grow to $400,000 in stock investments, which means a house, a college education, an entrance into middle class,” he notes. The fees charged for the use of SNAP cards (food stamp benefits), check cashing fees, and other remittances are also too much. He has already talked to bankers to establish less expensive programs for these services for people who traditionally eschew banks.
Seth Magaziner presents as a fresh face with fresh ideas. He is optimistic that Rhode Island can restore its prior luster and that he’s the candidate who is committed to having that happen.