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Without invoking President-elect Trump, Read calls the Treasurer's Office the 'line of defense for Oregon values and investments.'


JAIME VALDEZ/PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP - Tobias Read was sworn in as Oregon treasurer Friday by Judge Chris Garrett of the Oregon Court of Appeals.SALEM — Promising to protect the state's fiscal interests, Tobias Read took the oath of office as the Oregon's 29th treasurer Friday.

In Oregon, the state treasury is the central bank for state agencies, issues bonds and oversees the state's investments.

Read, a Democrat who has spent the last decade as a state representative from Beaverton, said in remarks after his swearing-in that he would emphasize "long-term thinking" when it comes to the state's investments; help Oregonians save for retirement and higher education; and maintain the "critical public trust" that is the state treasury.

It's no small responsibility: the state has a $90 billion investment portfolio. Read has said he wants to look at taking measures to reduce the state's investment costs, which could increase net returns.

The state's retirement savings plan — intended for people who don't have access to a retirement plan through their employer — is expected to get underway in July.

Read also warned Friday of potential risks to Oregon's public trust funds. Without invoking President-elect Trump outright, Read called the Treasurer's Office the "line of defense for Oregon values and investments."

"We're likely to see shifts in Washington, D.C. in those agencies that protect investors from the kind of fraudulent activities we saw in the run-up to the Great Recession," Read said. "Eroding those protections and transparency means increased risk for every Oregonian. For prudent and responsible investors like Oregon, it means we will need to step up, especially where those federal protections are rolled back."

Read's was the penultimate swearing-in of all the state's executive officers. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown's inauguration is Monday, when the Oregon Legislative Assembly will convene for organizational days prior to the legislative session's official kickoff Feb. 1.

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