LOWELL -- Financial expertise and a commitment to making things easier for the middle class are the basis of state Rep. Tom Conroy's bid for state treasurer.

"I am running for state treasurer fundamentally because I believe Massachusetts should be a commonwealth of equal opportunity, a place where folks who are working hard and playing by the rules should have a fair and equal chance to move up and move ahead in life. A place where economic justice is not just an idea but a place where it becomes a reality," Conroy said in an interview with The Sun's editorial board Monday.

Democrat for state treasurer candidate Tom Conroy makes a point during Monday morning’s meeting with The Sun editorial board.  SUN/ David H. BrowSun
Democrat for state treasurer candidate Tom Conroy makes a point during Monday morning's meeting with The Sun editorial board. SUN/ David H. Brow

Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

Conroy, a state representative from Wayland who has served for eight years, is seeking the Democratic party's nomination for state treasurer against state Sen. Barry Finegold, D-Andover, and Deborah Goldberg, a former selectman in Brookline. Finegold's Senate District includes the Greater Lowell communities of Dracut and Tewksbury, besides Lawrence and his hometown, Andover.

Universal pre-kindergarten, making home ownership more affordable and reducing the burden of student loan debt would be Conroy's top three priorities, he said.

"Why can't the treasurer be a people's banker, and offer low interest loans or grants or more debt relief for all those students who are aspiring to improve themselves, get a good education and get into a middle class job?" Conroy said.


Advertisement

To reach these goals, he hopes to expand a program where the state keeps some of its funds in local banks. That money can then be used to lend to local businesses, offer low interest mortgages and reduce interest rates on student loans, he said.

So far the state has $350 million invested in more than 50 local banks. Conroy said he plans to expand that to more than $1 billion in over 100 banks if elected.

He's also in favor of increasing local aid, indexing the gas tax and increasing funding for workforce training programs.

"The return on investment of that kind of workforce training spending is enormous. You're putting people back to work, they're going to pay income taxes, they're going to spend more and pay more sales taxes, you're getting them off the unemployment insurance rolls, that's going to save businesses money, it's going to reduce the unemployment insurance tax that corporations pay. It's a win-win-win all the way around," he said.

His 16 years of experience in the private sector, combined with his work in the legislature on financial issues, sets him apart from his opponents, he said.

He touted helping to increase the minimum wage for 600,000 workers as one of his greatest achievements as a state representative.

"That's going to help grow the economy, it's going to increase consumer demand, it's actually going to help create more jobs, and I think that's a real winner for everyone," Conroy said.

Follow Chelsea Feinstein on Twitter and Tout @CEFeinstein.