Ken Simpler says he's running for state treasurer because his three school-aged children won't have the same opportunities he had growing up in Rehoboth Beach.
“I’m running to get a solid fiscal foundation under the state,” he said to a supportive crowd at the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand. “I want to make Delaware first in finance because I know it matters.”
Simpler, 46, is challenging Democrat Chip Flowers. He filed for the seat March 18, but kicked off his campaign May 20 and did was his official announcement and with a statewide tour, beginning in Newark, stopping in Dover and ending in Rehoboth Beach.
Organizations that get their fiscal house in order have a competitive advantage, said Simpler, the only Republican who has filed for the seat, adding that he was capable of the financial reform the state needs. That reform will lead to certainty, accountability and transparency, he said.
Simpler is the chief financial officer for the Rehoboth Beach-based Seaboard Hotels and previously managed a successful, billion-dollar portfolio for a global financial institution, Citadel LLC. Simpler is a board member for Draper Holdings, the parent company of WBOC TV, and a finance committee member of Beebe Healthcare.
The treasurer's seat is shaping up to be a hotly contested affair. Incumbent Chip Flowers Jr., a Democrat from Middletown, filed March 5. He has held the position since January 2011.
Sean Barney, a Democrat from Wilmington, filed Feb. 18. He, most recently, has served as policy director for Gov. Jack A. Markell.
Simpler said both candidates were good men, with good hearts, but they have no financial experience.
He said he understands it will be a challenge running as a Republican for a statewide seat – eight of nine statewide seats are currently held by Democrats – but, he said, he’s confident Delawareans will elect the best candidate for the job.
It’s about nonpartisian relationships and a hope that the people of Delaware are able to weigh each candidates ideas, he said.
Simpler lives in Newark with his wife, Liz, and their three children, Blakeley, Gillian and Emmett.