Ryan T. Clark never planned to run for the Escondido treasurer’s office. An hour after the filing deadline passed and longtime incumbent Ken Hugins hadn’t filed for reelection, that added five days to the deadline, giving possible new candidates the chance to run.
When that first deadline passed Clark was asked if he would consider running. “I’m not really a political type person but I have a lot of interest in financial affairs,” he said. But he believes in service to his community, so he reached out to friends who offered him encouragement.
Eventually he said to his wife, Heather, “Ok, maybe this will work. I can be a viable candidate.”
He never would have run if the longtime incumbent, Ken Hugins, had decided to stand for another term. “Ken has done a pretty good job, although when I first moved to Escondido I was concerned that the city was running a deficit,” he says.
But that was 2009, when Escondido, like the resident of the country, was mired in a recession that had drastically cut city revenues. “UnPatriots der the economy of the last six years we have had a balanced budget and we have grown reserves. So I would have been content to vote for Ken again.”
But with the office open, Clark, decided to toss his hat in the ring.
Clark has a BS and MS in engineering, and also did a fair amount of studying in finance. He also runs a small business in Escondido.
Clark is a U.S. Army veteran who left after serving in Iraq and losing his foot and part of his leg to an IED. “If it hadn’t been for that I would have been happy to have served twenty or twenty-five years,” he says. Instead he served from 2004-2009 in the 4th Bn 9th Infantry Regiment (the Manchu.)
When he left the service he went to work for Northrup Grumman as an engineer, where, he says, “I work on some of the sophisticated aerospace” hardware,” and where he maintains a top-secret clearance with the Department of Defense. He is an engineering manager working on the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for the navy.
“I will treat the treasurer’s job as a full time job,” he says, noting that Hugins has been something of a part- time treasurer over the years. “I think it requires that much attention, especially since the department only has three staff members. I wouldn’t feel right treating it as part time, at least at the get-go. The residents deserve no less.”
There are no official “qualifications” for the job, except for being a registered voter in Escondido, but Clark says, “You want someone who is absolutely transparent and who is competent, not only in a fiduciary way but in all other ways, as well. I’m comfortable being effectively an open book. That’s my whole history since leaving the army.”
He notes that the job is not so simple as “We have a $17 million reserve and you have that much to invest for the city. Most year expenditures are higher than that and we don’t want to have a cash flow problem where too much cash is tied up in investments,” he says, adding, “It requires a fair bit of fine tuning and planning. Yet you want to maximize the yield. Inflow and outflow is a critical aspect.”
The good news, of course, is that most expenditures can be forecast. “You also know your revenues, with sales taxes being the largest,” he says. “You know you will need to pull cash from the reserves to meet the city’s obligations.”
He adds, “You have some level of autonomy but you have to justify your recommendations to the city council. We are talking about millions of dollars of the taxpayers’ money!”
His wife, Heather, is his campaign manager. “If you elect me the city of Escondido gets us both,” he says. “We’re a team.”
They have been married for 16 years and moved to Escondido in 2009. They have three children: sons, Garrett, 13 and Alex, 10 and daughter, Ezri, 6.
“The big thing for me is that my entire career has been based on service,” says Clark. “When I went into the army I enjoyed and wanted it to be a career.” After his foot was amputated he insisted on an aggressive level of rehabilitation and, despite being told that he might stay in a wheelchair, he insisted on getting back on his feet to the point where he now skis as well as he did before.
He left the army to join Northrup because, he says, “I felt by working on some of the most advanced projects I could better advance my service. I’ve worked on some amazing programs!”
He feels that his grasp of rapidly advancing technology will serve the city treasurer’s office by allowing it to do more with the same number of employees. “So that we can be more effective without expanding the number of staff members. That means you need to be more efficient.”
Ryan Clark’s campaign website is www.electryanclark.com/
Email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook is www.facebook.com/ Elect- Ryan- Clark- Escondido- Treasurer- 1074410969274666/?ref=page_ internal
The campaign phone number is 442- 777-2140.