HARTFORD, CT — Keeping with what seems to be a theme for 2018 of candidates who have never sought elected office, a Hartford attorney and a former chief investment officer are throwing their hats in the ring for state treasurer.
Arunan Arulampalam, an attorney with Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, where he advises banks and financial institutions in debt and equity financing, is exploring the Democratic nomination for state treasurer if Denise Nappier decides not to seek another term.
Arulampalam, who has begun meeting with voters, said If Nappier seeks re-election, he will end his bid.
Nappier, who has held the position for 18 years and was the first African-American woman elected to statewide office, has not filed paperwork to raise money for another term and has not indicated to Democratic Party insiders that she plans to seek another four years. Nappier is 66 years old.
While he’s never held elected office, Arulampalam, a graduate of Quinnipiac University Law School, is an active member of the Hartford community as a member of the Democratic Town Committee, the Hartford Public Library board and the Redevelopment Agency. He is also a member of the Connecticut Health Foundation’s Community Advisory Committee.
He’s also the father of four children and the son of refugees. Arulampalam’s parents fled Sri Lanka in 1983 at the start of the civil war.
“As a parent, I worry about the Connecticut our children will inherit,” Arulampalam said. “I see our challenges, as well as our potential, and I want to help build a better state for all of our children.”
As a first-time candidate, Arulampalam said he would be able to serve as an independent voice for taxpayers.
“I’m not a politician, but like many in Connecticut, I read the news and it is clear that decades of short-term decision-making has undermined the security of our pension funds. As Treasurer, I would make meeting our pension obligations a priority.”
The state treasurer’s chief task is to manage investment of the state’s more than $34 billion in pension funds.
While Arulampalam is exploring, Republican Thaddeus Gray of Lakeville officially declared his candidacy to run for state treasurer this past May.
Gray has loaned his campaign $20,000 and has raised about $13,800 from individuals between the May when he announced his candidacy and the end of September.
Like Arulampalam, Gray has also never held elected office.
“My background isn’t in politics, it’s in managing money,” Gray says in his campaign material. “I believe my experience will help bring Connecticut families a more secure financial future.”
Gray, 57, left a job at Abbott Capital Management, a private equity firm, where he was the chief investment officer at the end of August to focus on running for office. While he was at the firm he managed investments on behalf of corporate, multi-employer and public pension funds, as well as endowments, charitable foundations and family offices.
“I strongly believe I can use this experience to help Connecticut families, whether they are state employees, retirees or taxpayers,” Gray said. “I grew up in Connecticut and love this state. I’m prepared to fight every day for its future.”
Gray lives in Lakeville with his wife Allison and has three grown children.