WEST VIRGINIA - Republican Mike Hall says he won't have to learn the financial aspects of the job if he is elected West Virginia treasurer.
Hall, 63, represents Putnam County in the West Virginia Senate and serves as State Senate minority leader.
His work as a Methodist minister overseeing his church's finances led him to get his financial securities license in 1987, and in 1994 he took a job overseeing the pension plans for ministers across the nation. He presently works as a registered investment adviser for Cetera Financial.
"Since I have a securities license - I've been doing that for years - I walk into that office with the full understanding of what's going on there," he said. "I do believe I don't come at this as someone who is just moving from one political office to another. ... I bring more to the table in terms of understanding."
Hall was first elected to the House of Delegates in 1994 and moved to the Senate in 2006. In the House, he served on the Pensions and Retirement, Finance, Government and Finance and Rules committees, as well as the legislative oversight committee on health and human resources.
In the Senate, he has been a member of the Education, Military, Pensions, Banking and Insurance, Judiciary, Economic De-velopment and Rules committees, along with the Council on Finance and Administration, the Committee on Government and Finance, the Select Committee on Other Post-Employment Benefits, and the Senate Finance Committee.
West Virginia's treasurer sits on the board of directors for the state's investment management board and must address bond issues, Hall said. And the officeholder also is a member of the state housing authority, he continued. Hall noted he does have a license to sell real estate.
Hall faces incumbent John Perdue, a Democrat, in the Nov. 6 general election.
Hall spoke well of the Smart 529 college investment program started by Perdue, noting "conceptually it is a very good idea." But Hall said he has heard the fund isn't performing as well as it should under the Hartford Investment Group.
Hall wants to look at other options for funding the program and to put its contract for a provider out for bid.
He also is critical of a category of employees within the state Treasurer's Office holding the job title "local government specialists." Some of these specialists work out of a satellite office based in downtown Wheeling.
"Even the people there (within the governor's office) have been somewhat troubled by the existence of these guys," Hall said. "They're not in-house, they make a lot of money and they're not audited."
The specialists often help residents find unclaimed property due them through the office.
"You can do that with satellite offices," Hall said. "But in this world of Internet capability, that information can be disseminated widely. We would have to take a look and see at the local government offices. I'm not saying we would get rid of them - but we would see if they are functioning."