Connecticut State Treasurer Denise Nappier, the first woman to hold the office and the first African American woman elected to statewide office in Connecticut, is not seeking re-election after nearly two decades in the office. She made the announcement Wednesday morning.
Nappier was elected in 1998, becoming the first woman elected treasurer of Connecticut and the first African American woman elected to statewide office, according to officials.
She will have served 20 years when her fifth term ends in January 2019, which would make her the longest-serving Connecticut state treasurer since Andrew Kingsbury, who served 24 years, from 1794 to 1818.
“For nearly 19 years, this office has promoted the protection of shareholder value and the rights of consumers and workers by strengthening accountability and pursuing prudent and responsible business practices,” Nappier said in a statement. “The results are striking.”
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman released statements about Nappier’s service.
“Denise Nappier’s public service and dedication to the state of Connecticut is second to none. From the moment she made history as the first African American woman elected to statewide office in Connecticut, Denise has managed the state’s assets with distinction, routinely surpassing investment-return benchmarks,” Malloy said in a statement.
“But perhaps more importantly, she restored dignity and professionalism to an office that desperately needed leadership. Denise has also used her time in public office to advance the cause of social justice, raising her voice for values like diversity and inclusion by standing up for racial and gender parity in corporate boardrooms. And while much work remains before we realize that goal, Denise’s work has made a real difference in encouraging companies to put more women and people of color in leadership positions. There is no doubt that she will leave big shoes to fill, but I know (that) Connecticut is better off thanks to her years of leadership,” Malloy said.
“For 20 years, and through some very challenging times, Denise has worked tirelessly to strengthen Connecticut’s fiscal health and sustainability. She’s the driving force behind initiatives to improve fiscal literacy, support community investments, and make the Office of the Treasurer relevant to every household in the state,” Wyman said.
“By pushing through gender and race barriers, her leadership also sets an example for the next generation – and her work to expand access to higher education helps ensure that a talented leadership pipeline stands ready. She is a friend and a dedicated public servant. I wish her the best in her future and thank her for her steadfast service,” Wyman's statement says.
Comptroller Kevin Lembo released a statement, saying it has been a “great honor” to work alongside Nappier.
“As our state struggled to emerge from an era of corruption and abuse of public trust, Treasurer Denise L. Nappier made history as the nation’s first African-American woman elected state treasurer and the first woman elected treasurer in Connecticut’s history,” Lembo said in a statement.
“When the Connecticut people needed her most, Treasurer Nappier began her legacy of service by investigating and putting an end to an era of ethics abuses by her predecessor. She reformed the office by (bringing) responsible financial management that has grown the state’s pension plans and trusts from less than $19 billion to more than $34 billion,” Lembo’s statement goes on to say.
Connecticut Democratic Party Chairman Nick Balletto also released a statement, calling Nappier “an exceptional public servant and true leader” for the party during her time in elected office as Hartford treasurer and then State treasurer.
“Denise has blazed a trail for women and African-American leaders in the Democratic Party, the state of Connecticut, and across the nation, as, amongst other firsts, the first African-American woman elected Treasurer in the United States and the first and only woman elected Treasurer in Connecticut,” Balletto said in a statement.