Dustin Granger announces for treasurer, calls for investments in clean energy

Financial planner Dustin Granger will run for state treasurer, he said Tuesday, saying he would make a clean break with tradition by shifting that office’s investments from the oil-based economy to clean energy.

If elected, Granger, a Democrat from Lake Charles, said he would reverse the course charted by the current treasurer, John Schroder, who last year pulled $800 million in state funds out of New York-based financial giant BlackRock to protest its environment, social and governance policies.

Schroder’s move was hailed by conservative groups and pundits, who have railed against efforts to redirect investment decisions to account for the coming changes from global warming. Schroder’s move also won him national attention, and he is now one of the Republicans running for governor this year.

In a video announcing his candidacy, Granger said it makes financial sense for the state to move away from investing in the oil and gas industry.

“For decades, Louisiana has shamelessly given away tens of billions of your tax dollars and invested in countless oil and gas corporations and projects,” Granger said. “And while nearly every Louisiana politician is deathly afraid of being seen as anti-oil, I have to ask the question: What more do we have to show for unwavering allegiance to big oil than an economy that ranks last in the nation, and a climate crisis that threatens to make it even worse?

“It’s time for better, Louisiana. It’s time for the Louisiana of the future.”

Granger becomes the first major Democrat to announce for statewide office this year, at a time when no Democrat other than John Bel Edwards has won any of the statewide positions since 2007.

Granger, 42, lost a 2021 race to the state Senate. As a financial advisor, he said his job is to help make sure his clients “have income for the rest of their lives.”

State Rep. Scott McKnight of Baton Rouge is the only Republican running for treasurer at this point, although others appear likely to join the race.

The treasurer is a little-known officer who invests state trust funds and other pots of money to earn funds that help pay for public education and health care for the poor and dozens of other state programs. The treasurer also chairs the Bond Commission, which decides which state infrastructure projects approved by the Legislature actually get the financing.

Schroder, like his immediate predecessor John Kennedy, now a U.S. senator, has influence over how much money the state’s retirement systems put in investment firms or in industries such as oil and gas.

Granger vowed to take a different approach.

The state, he said, should “embrace the technologies of the future and invest in a new Louisiana energy revolution with renewable infrastructure projects that bring sustainable, high paying jobs. It’s a vision for Louisiana based on reality, not political ideology or backroom deals, and it’s exactly the type of smart investing I’ve used to help hundreds of families as a financial advisor for over two decades. And it’s what I want to do for all of Louisiana.”