Newly-elected Mayor Michael Hancock has chosen well in picking former Colorado Treasurer Cary Kennedy to be Denver's chief financial officer.
During swing elections -- where one party or the other is "swept" into office by a change in public opinion -- good public officials in lesser-known positions can be swept out. Such was the case last year, when Kennedy was defeated.
While Colorado Democrats were able to hold statewide races in the U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races with Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, so-called "down ballot" offices of secretary of state and treasurer were lost.
While the treasurer's position is not particularly high-profile or "sexy," it is critical because investments need to be well managed for both Colorado and local governments. During one of the worst American economic meltdowns, Cary made smart, solid investments on behalf of taxpayers.
Last week, the state auditor's office issued a nonpartisan report praising Kennedy's four years in office, when her office "met or exceeded every benchmark against which it was compared in a difficult market," according to Buck Global Investment Advisors, which performed the audit for the state.
Even Walker Stapleton, Cary's conservative successor in the treasurer's office, said, "I give her credit for doing a good job and maintaining state investments in a volatile market."
Cary brought transparency of state business to a new level. All of the treasurer's transactions were posted on her website and maintained meticulously. She made sure the public and local governments had constant access to financial information.
Cary also understands that we need to make periodic public investments, especially in education. She helped craft legislation that allowed Colorado to rebuild crumbling school building across the state. The K-12 investments were particularly important in rural areas that have difficulty passing bonds to keep pace with capital projects.
Denver, like many other large cities, is facing major financial challenges and needs a steady hand and level head to deal with the current issues while planning for the future.
Cary is not just a numbers nerd. She is one of the best policy minds around; she is well-grounded in the details but with an eye on the broader landscape. She understands that the financial decisions will make real-life impacts on the residents of Denver.
Welcome back, Cary! And well done, Mayor Hancock!