With incumbent Chip Flowers officially out of the Delaware treasurer race, Sean Barney is the Democratic candidate in the General Election.
Since Flowers announced the end of his re-election bid three weeks ago, Barney has remained largely under the radar. However, in an interview with WHYY this week, Gov. Jack Markell’s former policy director said he used the time to connect with voters.
“We were knocking on doors, we were calling people on the phone, we were at community meetings,” said Barney, who shared his platform of responsibility and opportunity.
Responsible for managing and investing taxpayer dollars, Barney said the office of Delaware’s treasurer can also make a difference in people’s lives, particularly young people who have never had access to a bank account or the opportunity to see savings grow over time.
“[I] want to help create, with our foundation community and our financial community, accounts designated for college or for training after high school for children in Delaware so that they start planning and saving for the future.”
Once Flowers’ term comes to an end in January, Barney said the challenge will be to rebuild the credibility of the office.
“There’s been a lot of skepticism about overreach in that office,” said Barney, hinting at the public clash between Flowers and the state’s Cash Management Policy Board. “I think there’s gonna need to be someone who comes in, understands that the role of the office, first and foremost, is to make sure that the money goes where the General Assembly and the governor, elected officials have decided where the spending is going in the budget and that it goes nowhere else.”
The feud resulted in state lawmakers passing legislation this year clarifying that the unelected cash board, of which the treasurer is a member, has final say over the state’s $2 billion investment portfolio, not the treasurer alone.
Barney holds degrees from Swarthmore College, Harvard University and Yale Law School. If he wins, the Iraq War veteran said he intends to cooperate with the cash board and make fewer headlines than the current treasurer.
“When you’re doing well, you’re not on the front pages. You’re doing the basic blocking and tackling of making sure that the integrity of the taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars is protected and that should be something that happens successfully behind the scenes.”
Barney will square off in November against the winner of the Republican primary, either Ken Simpler or Sher Valenzuela.