By Michelle Gallardo
Three people are vying to replace Chicago City treasurer Kurt Summers, who is retiring after one term in office.
Voters will cast their ballots on Feb. 26 for treasurer, as well as for a new mayor.
The candidates are: state Rep. Melissa Conyears-Ervin (D-Chicago), CPA Peter Gariepy and Ald. Ameya Pawar (7th Ward).
The city treasurer, one of three elected city-wide posts in Chicago, essentially consists of being the city’s accountant. The treasurer oversees the budget and is in charge of managing an $8 billion investment portfolio on behalf of the city. Manages the city’s increasingly troubled pension funds also falls under the job description.
All three of the candidates were campaigning on Sunday.
Conyears-Ervin greeted parishioners at several churches on Sunday. Endorsed by the Chicago Teacher’s Union, she highlighted her private and public sector experience as well as her educational background.
“We need someone who is going to be a financial watchdog of our money. And when we’re looking at pensions we need to make certain that our money is protected. We need to make sure we’re investing and getting the greatest return on our dollars,” Conyears-Ervin said.
Gariepy’s campaign is largely self-financed. The accountant is focused on effectively managing Chicago’s mounting debt while meeting the city’s unfunded pension obligations.
“It’s not just coming up with crazy ideas to solve other problems. It is to say how are we going to protect taxpayers while investing in parts of the city that unfortunately have been overlooked,” he said.
Sunday started early for Pawar, who used the Billy Goat as a backdrop to add an important endorsement to his campaign for city treasurer
“Ameya Pawar represents transformative vision and policies that will help move Chicago forward,” said state Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, D-Chicago.
Pawar’s main proposal involves the creation of a publicly-owned bank, which would allow the city direct control of its finances.
“I’m not interested in the status quo. I’m not interested in being a bookkeeper. What I am interested in is transforming the way the economy works for working people using the power of our investments,” Pawar said.
Early-voting will be expanded to 50 ward locations starting Monday, February 11. If none of the three candidates receive a majority of the votes, the two biggest vote-getters will then face each other during a run-off in April.
This article originally appeared on ABC 7 News.