The people’s treasurer: Beth Pearce

State treasurers are not typically viewed as crusaders for economic justice. But Vermont State Treasurer Beth Peace has quietly and doggedly championed programs, some of them first-in-the-nation, aimed at strengthening the economic security of working people. She pushed for passage of one of the broadest public retirement programs in the country, Green Mountain Secure Retirement, which will enable small businesses to offer retirement plans to over 100,000 employees. She also oversees a statewide local investment program, under which the Vermont State Treasurer invests 10 percent of its cash reserves into local initiatives. In December 2017, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility gave Pearce its Public Servant of the Year Award “for her work to establish a public retirement system, clean up Vermont’s waterways, and to address the impacts of climate change through state investments.”

Pearce, 1 of just 9 female State Treasurers in the U.S., is serving her fourth term as Treasurer after being appointed to the position in 2011. She is the newly elected President of the National Association of State Treasurers. (January 10, 2018 broadcast)

Beth Pearce, Vermont State Treasurer

Should Vermont divest?

Should Vermont divest? A recent study argues that Vermont’s state pension funds have given up $77 million in gains due to investments in fossil fuels. Gov. Peter Shumlin has also recently called for the state to divest, causing a rift with State Treasurer Beth Pearce, who opposes divestment. We speak with a Vermont investment manager about why he advocates for divestment.

Eric Becker, Chief Investment Officer, Clean Yield Asset Management