Kentucky Attorney General and GOP primary candidate for governor, Daniel Cameron wants to keep Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) out of Kentucky’s public pension plans, and he’s calling on the other Republican candidates to join him.
Investors have been assessing these non-financial factors as ways to identify sustainability-related risks and opportunities. Corporations often offer these metrics to attract investments.
Cameron says the ESG metrics would “use taxpayer-funded investment practices to decimate Kentucky’s energy industry, and cripple the Commonwealth’s economy,” and he’s signed a pledge to not report on the environmental, social, and corporate governance of the Kentucky public pension plans if elected.
“Politicians and radical liberals have decided how they’re going to invest your money. On day one as your next Governor, I will fight back. I’m signing this pledge to stop radical leftists from destroying our energy industry and to keep politics out of our pensions. I hope all of my colleagues will join me in taking this pledge,” said General Cameron.
Kentucky’s public pension plans have struggled, and remain at a “critical funding level,” despite an influx of cash from the legislature and the attention of former Gov. Matt Bevin, R-Kentucky.
Due to market downturns, the pension plans managed by the authority saw investments lose 5.7% of their value during the fiscal year, according to Center Square. The legislature is planning on allocating even more taxpayer money into the plans during the 2024 budget cycle.
Cameron is among a dozen Republicans seeking the GOP nomination on May 16. Gov. Andy Beshear, D-Kentucky, is expected to easily make his way through a primary race in an effort to win a second term in Nov.
The full pledge from Cameron is below.
“On Day One as Governor, I pledge to keep politics out of Kentucky’s pensions by:
Ensuring Kentucky’s policy choices are made by its elected representatives, and not by investment firms with political agendas. No investment firm will dictate state policy decisions using our pension dollars as leverage. They were never elected by the people of Kentucky and their agenda has never been endorsed by you or your elected officials.
Appointing trustees to our pension systems who are knowledgeable, capable, and have real-world experience in building wealth and managing assets for the benefit of their clients. All our trustees must be completely loyal to Kentucky’s pensioners and set politics aside. Kentucky’s public pensioners deserve no less.
Appointing trustees who will ensure no investment firm uses, or promises to use, client funds to promote a political agenda. We will ensure your pension dollars are invested in a way that follows the law, and focuses only on financial returns – not politics. I will never allow firms Kentucky hires to weaponize investment decisions and public dollars against the people of Kentucky, or Kentucky industries.
I pledge to protect our public pensions as Governor. And I encourage leaders across the United States to take this same pledge—for the health of their pension systems and the good of their citizens.”