Susan Redden: Democrat state treasurer candidate makes stop in Joplin

A former U.S. diplomat now running for Missouri state treasurer on Friday was in Joplin to meet with Southwest Missouri Democrats.

Pat Contreras, of Kansas City, was on hand at a Democrat mixer that was put on in conjunction with the Democrats' Eleanor Roosevelt Days banquet on Saturday night.

Contreras started his career with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. He said he is running for treasurer because the office needs to be held "by someone who understands the struggles of working families."

If elected, he said, he will work on encouraging more banks to move into low-income areas that lack banking service, improving the "financial literacy" of Missouri residents and streamlining the steps for residents seeking home loans.

"There are parts of cities in this state that are financial deserts because there are no banks there," he said.

Contreras currently works on the Jackson County Veterans Task Force to help those who served in the military find jobs, housing and services. A graduate of St. Louis University and Columbia University, he worked in the U.S. State Department during the Barack Obama and George W. Bush administrations. He served as a diplomat in Pakistan and Mexico in positions aimed at strengthening national security.

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