Public Office: Hartford city treasurer 1989 to 1999. State treasurer 1999 to present.
Current Position: State treasurer. Term ends January 2011.
Background: Denise L. Nappier is the first African-American woman in the country to be a state treasurer and the first in Connecticut elected to statewide office. She is a former city treasurer in Hartford and a former executive director of Riverfront Recapture.
As treasurer, Nappier is the sole fiduciary responsible for overseeing the investment of about $50 billion in state funds, including $26 billion in state retirement accounts. In 2005, she backed the creation of a $100 million Housing Trust Fund to help finance affordable housing.
Her willingness to use her influence as a major institutional investor to shape a range of corporate policies, including executive compensation, has prompted criticism from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and praise from the Social Investment Forum. In 2004, she was one of eight state treasurers who called on the SEC to require better disclosure of global-warming risks in corporate filings.
Nappier said she acts first and foremost as a fiduciary interested in maximizing investment returns, not as an activist pushing social investing. But she said that responsible corporate practices make for good business.
Before entering elective office as a five-term city treasurer in Hartford, she was executive director of Riverfront Recapture, a consultant to the state Office of Policy and Management, Director of Institutional Relations at the University of Connecticut Health Center and principal administrative analyst in the Hartford City Manager’s Office.
Nappier was elected state treasurer in 1998, unseating Republican Paul J. Silvester in a tight race, 436,573 to 433,889. She was re-elected in 2002 and 2006.
She was unopposed in the Democratic primary and told the party convention after winning its endorsement by acclamation: “When it comes to the state treasurer’s office, it’s all about the money.” She also pledged to hold the office to “the highest ethical standards, professionalism and commitment to openness and transparency.”
She called for fairness in fiscal policy, saying it “matters more than ever to put an end to astronomical executive compensation that continues to go up” while average workers are shortchanged. And she talked about the need to support teacher pension funds and create more financial literacy programs in schools.
Education: B.A., Virginia State University; M.A., University of Cincinnati