A Service of UA Little Rock
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
KUAR in Monticello is down temporarily due to issues concerning the transmitter. We appreciate your patience as we actively work to resolve the issues.

John Pagan, former state lawmaker, details his plans if elected as state treasurer

The Arkansas State Capitol building is seen in this file photo from February 2023.
Daniel Breen
The Arkansas State Capitol building is seen in this file photo from February 2023.

In November, John Pagan, a former Democratic legislator, filed paperwork to run in the special election that will be held for the state treasurer’s position. Earlier this year, former State Treasurer Mark Lowery passed away in his first term in the position.

In an interview with KARK Channel 4’s Capitol View, Pagan said he would be prepared to manage the billions of dollars in assets the treasurer is responsible for.

“I was dean of a law school for 6 years and the law school had a budget of $16.8 million. It had a full-time faculty of 25, part-time of 50, 40 staff members and 472 students. I’m used to managing budgets. I’m used to working with a large staff of people to pursue a common goal,” he said.

Pagan also said his experience as an attorney would help him manage the office because the office’s responsibilities are part outlined by state law.

Pagan said if elected to the position, he would look at ways to build on the college savings plan.

“The last fiscal year, the treasury generated $254 million in earnings thanks to the higher interest rates and that $11 billion portfolio. I would like to see us take some of that $254 million to increase the amount of scholarships that we give to students,” he said.

Pagan, who was a sponsor of the bill that created the Arkansas Lottery Scholarship, said the $1,000 it provides is not enough given the increase in tuition.

Pagan is the only candidate who filed as a Democrat to run for the position. Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston, a Republican, is the other candidate who is running for the position.

Currently, the office is being managed by Larry Walther, who was the Secretary of the Department of Finance and Administration. Walther was appointed to serve as the state treasurer until the special election by Gov. Sarah Sanders.

Ronak Patel is a reporter for Little Rock Public Radio.