Some political observers call him a long shot, but Republican Tom Cox can at least claim one early victory. He's turning the State Tresurer's race into a debate over PERS reform.
He's taking on well-known incumbent Ted Wheeler, and has made PERS reform his campaign centerpiece. In a local example, he talks about the Bend La Pine School District's recent hit of a 4.7 million dollar increase in the cost of its PERS allocaiton.
" under my plan they would get back about 5 million dollars right away- possibly even more- the whole point of reforming pers is to on the one hand protect local districts- the schools - the city - the county- whatever - and not have to lay all these people off- and not balancing this on the back of all the workers- and not harm retirees- and at the same time not writing some unlimited blank check that the tax payers would have to fund forever."
By statute, the Treasurer has no authority over the Public Employee Retirement System. Recently Wheeler has been speaking out on the need for reform. Cox says Wheeler came out publicly about PERS shortly after he released his detailed reform plan.
Cox is a 48 year old marketing consultant from the Portland area.