Shawn Wooden

Mayor Toni Harp last week announced her support for former Hartford City Council President Shawn Wooden in the race for state treasurer.

The announcement is Harp’s first endorsement of this year’s campaign season. Wooden was the first Democrat to file his papers for the office of state treasurer, whose current occupant, Denise Nappier, has chosen not to run for re-election after 20 years in office. State Sen. Art Linares, R-Westbrook, and Republican candidate Thaddeus Grey are also running for the position.

“I’ve known Shawn for many years and can unequivocally say he has a deep commitment to public service and a proven record of accomplishment,” Harp wrote in a Jan. 24 release. “New Haven, like the rest of Connecticut, has a great deal at stake in this year’s election. That’s why we need to support candidates with real experience and a history of helping working people. There’s no doubt in my mind Shawn meets this standard — that’s why he’s my endorsed candidate for State Treasurer.”

Wooden is a nationally recognized public pension-plan investment lawyer with an extensive record of fighting on behalf of working families, Harp said.

Harp added that Wooden’s “passion for fairness” is evident in his career as a lawyer and public servant and his work at the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations’ Office of Investment.

“I am running for State Treasurer because I have the experience, vision and passion to invest Connecticut’s capital wisely and protect the long-term financial security of working families and retirees,” Wooden told the News.

As state treasurer, Wooden said he would invest state pension funds to maximize return and minimize risk. He would aim these investments toward Connecticut’s market to grow jobs and support the local economy.

Wooden added that he also plans to work with the governor and legislature to fund state pension plans and to protect the retirements of “hundreds of thousands of families” in the state.”

“My life’s work is protecting and maximizing the savings of working people,” he wrote in a Jan. 11 Facebook post announcing his decision to run for state treasurer. “I’ve been an attorney for more than 20 years and spent the better part of those years advising on public pension-plan investments, an area I now lead for my firm. Every day, I advise institutions on how to protect investments and pursue socially responsible outcomes.”

The state treasurer must have a strong financial background, real experience in public policy, high ethical standards and the ability to find consensus, Wooden wrote in the post.

Harp said Wooden has “shown honesty and integrity” through his tenure on the Citizen’s Ethics Advisory Board, which oversees the state’s Ethics Office, and in his former role as president of the Hartford City Council.

“Despite protest from my youngest son at dinner time, I constantly talk about the importance of planning and saving for the future,” Wooden wrote on Facebook. “My passion began at home watching my parents work tirelessly to give their six children opportunities they never had. As a father now of two young boys, I’ve come full circle in knowing what it’s like to worry about the future of people you love the most.”

Wooden added that he is aware of the difficulties that come with balancing a budget in challenging times and weighing different agendas, while maintaining a commitment to growth and opportunity.

At the moment, Harp is not looking to make any additional endorsements, mayoral spokesman Laurence Grotheer told the News on Friday.

Connecticut’s state treasurer manages nearly $60 billion in public assets.

Jever Mariwala | jever.mariwala@yale.edu