Continuing in my series of interviews with local candidates, today I bring you Neeta Sane, who is the Democratic candidate for County Treasurer in Fort Bend.
1. Who are you and what are you running for?
My name is Neeta Sane. I am running for Fort Bend County Treasurer. I am a resident of Missouri City and I have been married for 19 years with one son who is a freshman at UT-Austin studying Chemical Engineering.
We came to the United States of America in 1994. This was one of the major turning points in our life. Becoming an American citizen had a tremendous impact on the way I thought about my life. As opposed to India and Australia, American citizenship inspired me to commit myself to a two-way relationship with this country, to accept its blessings and in turn, give of myself to improve the lives of those around me.
I serve as a Director of Vote-Texas which is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization committed to acquiring transparency in electronic voting systems. I served as the Vice-President of Texas Democratic Women of Fort Bend, the Secretary of the Fort Bend County Democratic Party, the Publicity Chair of Dulles High School ProGrad and the Diversity Chair of American Association of University Women of Fort Bend. My commitment of giving back and making a positive difference in the political arena has only grown stronger.
At this point, I have entered the political race for Fort Bend County Treasurer to protect the interests of the taxpayers of Fort Bend County.
2. What are the responsibilities and powers of the County Treasurer in Fort Bend?
Fort Bend County Treasurer is the chief custodian of county funds. Legislatively prescribed duties for the elected County Treasurer include receipt of funds, disbursement of funds as Commissioner's court may require or direct, and accounting for funds in the county treasury.
3. What are your professional qualifications for this job?
I am a financial technology entrepreneur. I have founded and managed a very successful financial software company with the highest ethical standards. Today, my innovative fraud-prevention and payment processing system, which increases both security and operational efficiency, is used by banking systems.
My professional experience in modern financial systems and fraud-prevention will enable me to successfully customize and utilize the county's newly purchased financial system to meet the county's ever growing need to improve efficiency and bring integrity in financial dealings.
I earned a Master of Science degree with a GPA of 3.97 from University of Houston-Clear Lake and published research papers in Scientific journals in collaboration with Center for Research in Parallel computing, Rice University.
4. Your counterpart in Harris County, Richard Garcia, is running on a platform to abolish the office there. How is Fort Bend different from Harris?
In Fort Bend County, the excessive concentration of Republican Party rule and their inept leadership has led to the indictment and resignation of the previous Republican Fort Bend County Treasurer followed by the appointment of a lobbyist as replacement County Treasurer. The situation in Fort Bend County definitely requires an elected Democratic County Treasurer who will provide the necessary checks and balances in the county leadership to manage the county funds with integrity, efficiency and transparency.
5. State Rep. Charlie Howard of Fort Bend tried unsucessfully last year to pass a bill to abolish the Fort Bend County Treasurer's office. What is your response to that?
American politics revolves around the basic principle of checks and balances to make sure that no party in rule can turn the given power into misuse or abuse. Proposing and defending the abolishment of an elected office like the office of County Treasurer, is nothing but an effort against the very basic need of having checks and balances in the governmental processes. I do not support abolishing the elected office of County Treasurer. Handing over the elected treasurer's duties and responsibilities to an appointed budget or finance officer defeats the very purpose of having an elected Treasurer who constitutionally protects the interests of the voters.
6. The last elected Treasurer was Jeanne Parr, who was forced to resign after pleading guilty to misappropriating funds. How much of an issue is that in the race this year? What needs to be done to restore the voters' trust in the office?
The indictment and resignation of the previously elected Republican Treasurer for stealing money from a youth organization and misappropriation of funds is a disgraceful example of inept Republican leadership. This year, the race for Fort Bend County Treasurer brings another Republican candidate who is past retirement age and has been hand-picked by the same republican leadership to be a rubberstamp of the majority of the County commissioners.
Voter's trust in the office can only be restored by electing a qualified Democratic candidate who will serve as the watch dog for the taxpayers to protect their tax-dollars from mismanagement and embezzlement.
7. What are your priorities for this job if you are elected?
- I will bring integrity and honesty--I will optimize the usage of the newly purchased county's financial system to meet needs of ethical financial management. I will make sure that fraud-prevention measures are in place to prevent mishandling of the county funds.
- I will bring efficiency--I will streamline the financial transaction processes to increase the efficiency in the office of County Treasurer.
- I will bring fiscal accountability– I will bring openness and transparency in all the transactions that go through the office of County Treasurer and I will make the information readily accessible to the taxpayers of Fort Bend County.
8. What effect have the events in the 22nd Congressional District campaign had on your race? What effect has the Nick Lampson campaign had on your race?
All the events in the 22nd Congressional District race point to a strong need to have accountability, to prevent backroom wheeling and dealing, and to function according to the law of the land. In my opinion, the 22nd Congressional District race has not had any direct impact on my race.
Nick Lampson's campaign has definitely raised the profile of Fort Bend County Treasurer race a bit as our campaigns share a common platform of bringing fiscal accountability and responsibility in the governmental processes to efficiently serve the taxpayers.
9. Fort Bend currently has no elected Democrats in countywide offices. Why do you believe you can overcome that?
I can overcome that challenge because I have trust in the voters of Fort Bend County who realize that it is time to look beyond the political maneuverings in order to elect the most qualified and suitable candidate who will succeed as the watchdog for the taxpayers and not end up being another lapdog of the commissioners.
10. What else do we need to know about you and your campaign?
At this point in my life, I could have continued focusing on my business needs but I saw the stronger need to have checks and balances in the county government and to have a competent County Treasurer to restore the public trust in that office. So I decided to contest this election. I would like you to know my passion and desire to utilize the prime years of my life to serve the people of Fort Bend County to make sure the county funds are handled with integrity, efficiency and transparency.
UPDATE: Bryan has more.Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 28, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack