2024 Primary – Treasurer
The following candidate information is from the North Carolina Board of Elections website.
There are three candidates on the Republican primary ballot and two candidates on the Democratic primary ballot.
While we did not receive responses from all the primary candidates, we hope the following information will be helpful as you do your research before the primary election.
A. J. Daoud (R)
401 Butler Street
Pilot Mountain, NC 27041
Note: we received an email from the Daoud campaign that there was a recent family illness and the candidate would not be able to respond to our questionnaire.
Rachel Johnson (R)
3055 Heather Meadow Drive
Winston Salem, NC 27106
Brad Briner (R)
705 Gimghoul Road
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Gabe Esparza (D)
1426 Lilac Road
Charlotte, NC 28209
Have you ever been to the Town of Davidson, or do you have a connection to our Town?
Of course! I live in Charlotte and love getting up to Davidson. We are big fans of all the fun Halloween events, and whenever I have a meeting in Davidson, no better place than Summit Coffee Co. for a good cup of coffee and friendly environment.
Why are you running for office?
I’m running for Treasurer because we’ve got to bring people together to invest in North Carolina’s future – creating both opportunity and financial security for everyone. I will honor the public service of our state employees and retirees by ensuring the long-term stability of our pension fund, fighting to lower health care costs, and leading an innovation agenda across our economy. Experience matters and I will deliver for North Carolina.
What makes you the most qualified over your primary opponents?
In the race for NC State Treasurer, experience matters. This a big job that entails leadership of a 500-person organization, sole decision-making authority over a $115B pension fund, and management of a state healthcare plan for upwards of 750,000 people. You can’t put a rookie in this job. I have a top-notch education (Stanford and Harvard) that provided the foundation for a successful 25+ year career in the private sector leading large organizations, going toe-to-toe negotiating against large corporate interests, managing budgets, and investing money. I also have over a decade of public sector experience as both a Commissioner of the Civil Service Commission and a senior official in the Biden Administration. In contrast, my opponent has no management experience to speak of – never managed a team, never negotiated a deal, and critically – has never managed any money. North Carolinians should put their faith in someone who has a track record of creating jobs, growing businesses, generating revenue, and saving lives. I am committed to leveraging my skills and experience on behalf of all North Carolinians.
What is the number one thing that Davidson voters need to know about you?
Well, aside from the fact that the Police are my favorite band, I drink Dr. Pepper, and have climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, I would simply share with the good people of Davidson that I have a long track record of delivering results for people. During my tenure in the Biden Administration, I created 20,000 jobs. Over the course of my 25+ years in the private sector I have started companies, grown revenues, and saved lives! I want to put all of that skill and experience to work for North Carolinians as your next State Treasurer.
What will be your top priorities?
Long-term stability of the State Pension Fund
The singular most critical challenge facing the Treasurer is to ensure the state pension fund is stable. The pension fund has underperformed and the current Treasurer has shifted the burden of funding current payout liabilities to the taxpayers. There is also late breaking news that some state entities currently participating in the fund are threatening to exit. The totality of this situation risks the state’s AAA credit rating. The solution to this challenge is to a) put a greater portion of the pension fund’s cash to work, b) shift more of the asset allocation into alternatives – private equity, real assets and real estate, and c) invest with purpose.
Healthcare plan shift from Blue Cross to Aetna
The second greatest challenge the Treasurer faces is proper execution on the transition of the state healthcare plan from Blue Cross to Aetna. Come January 2025 when Aetna goes live, people will discover that their doctor took Blue Cross, but don’t accept Aetna, and that patient will be stranded without the necessary healthcare. So, I have been telling every state employee and retiree that I meet on the campaign trail to tell their doctor, today, that this change is coming. Upon assumption of office I will immediate set up a rapid response center that will address the following – a) finds temporary, alternative Aetna-accepting doctors for patients who discover that their current, preferred doctor hasn’t yet, or decided not to, accept Aetna, b) works with Aetna to enroll the preferred doctors of every state employee and retiree on the plan, and c) serves as the communications hub to make sure the public is aware of the current status of the healthcare plan transition.
Wesley Harris (D)
3570 Toringdon Way 4026
Charlotte, NC 28277