Chipman L. Flowers, Jr.

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Chipman L. Flowers, Jr.
Chip Campaign Official Photo.jpeg
Treasurer of Delaware
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 2, 2011
Preceded by Velda Jones-Potter
Personal details
Born 27 December 1974 (1974-12-27) (age 39)
Honolulu, Hawaii
Political party Democratic
Residence Middletown, Delaware
Alma mater University of Pennsylvania,
Georgetown University,
Georgetown University Law Center,
Harvard University,
Harvard Kennedy School
Occupation Attorney
Website chipflowers.com

Chipman "Chip" L. Flowers, Jr. (born December 27, 1974 in Honolulu, Hawaii) is treasurer of the state of Delaware and an attorney. A member of the Democratic Party, Flowers became the first African American to win a statewide election in Delaware when he was elected treasurer in November 2010. He took office on Jan. 2, 2011. He is also president and managing member of the Flowers Counsel Group, LLC, a law firm he founded in 2006.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Flowers is the youngest child of Chipman Flowers, Sr. a retired Army officer, and C. Jean Johnson Flowers, a former teacher and guidance counselor for the U.S. Department of Defense Dependent Schools.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

As the son of a military officer, Flowers traveled extensively in his youth, attending public schools in Dallas, Texas, Lawton, Oklahoma and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He attended middle and high school in Italy while his father was stationed overseas. He is a graduate of Vicenza American High School in Vicenza, Italy. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1996, earning a bachelor’s degree in economics, and then attended Georgetown University, where he earned his Juris Doctor degree and a Master of Business Administration in 2000. While attending Georgetown, Flowers worked at the A. Philip Randolph Institute, the Congressional Joint Economic Committee and in the White House Office of Political Affairs during the Clinton administration.[3]

Flowers later studied at the Harvard Kennedy School where he earned a Master of Public Administration and received the Don K. Price Award for academic excellence and public service.[4]

Career[edit]

After graduating from Georgetown, Flowers began his legal career in Delaware in the Wilmington office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP, where he worked as a mergers and acquisition attorney.[5] He served as chairman of the Multicultural Judges and Lawyers Section of the Delaware State Bar Association. Flowers worked as the Chief Democratic Analyst for Delaware Tonight, a nightly news program on WHYY-TV, where he served until the show was cancelled.[5]

In 2006, Flowers founded Flowers Counsel Group, LLC, a corporate law firm that specializes in mergers and acquisitions and procurement law. The firm provides corporate purchasing services for international and Fortune 500 companies.[5]

Treasurer of Delaware[edit]

Campaign and election[edit]

In 2010, after a largely self-financed campaign, Flowers won the Democratic primary for Delaware State Treasurer against incumbent Velda Jones-Potter with 54.3 percent of the vote. His platform, entitled “The Flowers Framework for Restoring Prosperity,” included a "Financial Warning System" that aimed to categorize economic conditions using a color scheme.[6][7] Additionally, Flowers proposed a "Hometown Tax Credit" that encouraged businesses to hire from Delaware schools.[8]

In the general election in November 2010, Flowers defeated Colin R. Bonini, a three- term Republican state senator from the Dover area, 153,203 to 147,031.[9][10]

First term[edit]

During 2011, his first year in office, Flowers restructured the Delaware State Treasury into four distinct offices and began publishing the Delaware Economic Index. He implemented the Delaware Early Warning System, a financial warning system that rates the health of the state’s economy.[11]

That year he was elected to the Executive Committee of the National Association of State Treasurers, representing the treasurers of the Eastern states. He donated his entire first year salary to fund two fellowships at the Treasury in partnership with United Way of Delaware.[11]

During 2012, Flowers and Governor Jack Markell debated over the role of the state’s Cash Management Policy Board and the need for “open and competitive” contracts in securing the state’s investment managers. Flowers contended that the board’s investment decisions had led to lower than average returns on the state’s investment portfolio and the state needed to engage new investment managers on an open and competitive basis to increase returns and reduce fees. Markell and his aides, in supporting the board (the Governor appoints most of the members of the Policy Board), claimed that Flowers was attempting to usurp the board’s traditional responsibilities to hire fund managers and make decisions about investment policies.[12] Flowers commissioned a report by Credit Suisse Securities USA, LLC, which determined that the rate of return on the state’s portfolio lagged behind the returns realized by similar states. He authored an article[13] that summarized his position. That same year, he increased the returns of the portfolio by $4 million.

Following publication of the Credit Suisse report,[14] the state Treasury began reallocating assets. In October 2012, the Treasury and the board reached agreement to diversify the state’s assets, increase the number of investment managers and require them to meet certain financial performance benchmarks. The Treasury also negotiated a lower fee structure.[15]

In May 2012, the White House commended Delaware and two other state treasuries, for their efforts to promote financial literacy, praising both the Delaware Economic Index and the Prosperity Portal, a web-based repository of information on financial topics.[15] In early 2013, all three major rating agencies (Moody's, Standard & Poor's and Fitch) awarded a AAA rating to Delaware's bonds.[16]

In February 2014, Flowers released The Fourth Report on the Delaware State Treasury, which noted over 35 accomplishments during his tenure, highlighted by the state portfolio returning over $44 million (including positive returns 30 out of 37 months), measures to protect the state’s portfolio and a $400,000 reduction in annual fees.[15]

Flowers will complete his first term at the end of 2014.

Travel Expense Issue[edit]

In November 2013, Flowers was questioned about funds spent during a business trip to Alaska with then-deputy treasurer Erika Benner the previous year.[17] Flowers claimed that his travel expenses were justified and that he spent the trip meeting with bankers and lawyers regarding Delaware's $2 billion portfolio. The trip was subject to reimbursement by the National Association of State Treasurers, but the reimbursement was incorrectly filed by a Treasury staff member. Flowers, who contributed over $250,000 to his campaign, chose to return $460.80 for the trip and returned an additional $415.25 for an additional day's stay related to a National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers meeting in Seattle in 2012.[18] On July 30, 2014, the Office of the Auditor of Accounts found that Flowers had traveled for only legitimate business purposes and his travel to Alaska and Seattle were paid (in full or in part) by the National Association of State Treasurers and the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers.

Boards and Associations[edit]

Flowers served or has served on the following boards and associations:

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Flowers Counsel Group Firm Profile". Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  2. ^ Carlisle, Jackie (10 February 2011). "Tuskegee's Flowers family juggles great loss and triumph in 2011". The Tuskegee News. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Chip Flowers". Bloomberg. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  4. ^ "Chipman Flowers, Jr., Esq. Inducted into Cambridge Who's Who Executive, Professional and Entrepreneurial Registry". 24/7 Press Release. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c "Chip Flowers". Bloomberg. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  6. ^ Flowers, Chip. "The Flowers Framework for Restoring Prosperity". Delaware State Treasury. Retrieved Feb 20, 2013. 
  7. ^ "State of Delaware Primary Election 2010 Official Results". Delaware Department of Elections. Retrieved Feb 20, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Chip Flowers Ready To Serve Delaware's Middle Class With His 'Flowers Framework' Plan". 1 July 2010. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  9. ^ "State of Delaware General Election 2010 Official Results". Delaware Department of Elections. Retrieved Feb 20, 2013. 
  10. ^ Taylor, Adam (Nov 3, 2010). "Flowers edges Bonini in 'hard-fought' race". Wilmington (Del.) News Journal. 
  11. ^ a b Flowers, Chip. "The Second Report on the Delaware State Treasury". Delaware State Treasury. Retrieved Feb 20, 2013. 
  12. ^ Starkey, Jonathan (June 12, 2012). "Outcast of Markell's inner circle,". Wilmington (Del.) News Journal. 
  13. ^ Flowers, Chipman L. (2012). "The Case for Reforming Our State Portfolio". 
  14. ^ Credit Suisse report
  15. ^ a b c Flowers, Chip. "The Third Report on the Delaware State Treasury". Delaware State Treasury. Retrieved Feb 20, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Bond agencies rate Delaware AAA". Retrieved March 14, 2013. 
  17. ^ O'Malley, Shana (20 November 2013). "Delaware legislative committee asks Chip Flowers about Alaska trip". Newsworks. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  18. ^ Anderson, Craig (16 November 2013). "Flowers’ document woes won’t go away". Delaware Newszap. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Velda Jones-Potter
Treasurer of Delaware
2011
Succeeded by
Incumbent