Incumbent State Treasurer Tobias Read announced on Dec. 17 his bid for re-election, and he's taking pride in running an alternative campaign that his office brands as a "novel approach": talking about compound savings instead of himself.
In his first campaign video, Read only briefly introduces himself as Oregon's state treasurer before launching into the merits of compound interest, the economic strategy of storing money in a bank and watching the number steadily grow over time based on re-investing earnings.
"Compound interest is more than just a lesson we learn in school," Read says to the camera, "because the real test of compound interest, is life."
The video, appropriately titled "Compound Interest," bears no indication in the title that it's Read's first re-election clip.
Read was a member of Oregon's House of Representatives for 10 years representing Beaverton prior to being elected as state treasurer in 2016.
In his current term as state treasurer, Read spearheaded legislation establishing the OregonSaves program, an opt-out retirement savings program that automatically takes chunks out of every paycheck and stores it away in a savings account – maintained even if a worker jumps between jobs and employers.
Outfitted with simple graphics showing how compound savings can grow over a child's trajectory from birth to college, the campaign video is a steep departure from the typical politician's campaign video that's dotted with personal accomplishments, declared values and the occasional visual representation of the candidate's focus on family.
"Saving even small, affordable amounts over time can make a huge difference in your child's future," Read explains in the video, donning a striped blue and red tie. "I want to make sure we use every dollar we can for your family's future."
Read isn't shying away from the characterization of running an alternative campaign.
"It's a novel approach, and likely the first time a candidate for statewide office has talked about compound interest more than their self-interest," his campaign said in a statement. "He used his campaign launch as an opportunity to promote sign-ups for the Treasury's program to help families save for their kids' future education."