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Democrat John Wertheim running for state treasurer

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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque lawyer and former Democratic Party Chairman John Wertheim announced Tuesday he’s running for state treasurer next year.

He said in an interview that the treasurer’s office “is a perfect place to begin pushing for a progressive economic policy for New Mexicans and that’s why I am running.”

Incumbent Democrat James Lewis is term-limited and can’t seek re-election.

The treasurer serves as the state’s bank and invests money that isn’t immediately needed for government operations. The treasurer also serves on boards that oversee state finances, the investment of permanent funds valued at more than $17 billion and pension funds for government workers and educators.

Two other Democrats have said they plan to run for treasurer — former State Sen. Tim Eichenberg of Albuquerque and former Bernalillo County Treasurer Patrick Padilla.

Wertheim supports increased state investments to expand the economy, including in renewable energy development and infrastructure such as roads and bridges. He said he backs a proposal to increase the yearly payout from a state permanent fund to provide more money for early childhood education programs. The measure has failed in the Legislature, however.

Wertheim was state Democratic Party chairman from 2004 to 2007. He ran for New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District in 1996, but lost in the general election to incumbent Republican Steve Schiff, who died in 1998. Wertheim unsuccessfully sought the party’s nomination for the congressional seat in 2000.

Wertheim received a law degree in 1995 from the University of New Mexico, and earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University in 1990.

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