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State Treasurer addresses Rotary

According to Alabama State Treasurer Lucy Baxley, community service should be an important part of every citizen's life.

"How do you live a life of gratitude if you don't give back?" she asked those in attendance at Thursday's Rotary Club meeting at the Greenville YMCA.

Baxley should know about community service. She has volunteered a great deal of her time to different organizations throughout the state, including serving as past chairperson for the Alabama Leukemia Society and working with various groups that advocate programs for senior citizens.

She also addressed issues concerning the Alabama State Treasury Department. She explained how the treasury serves as the "bank" for the state, how it makes money, how that money is spent and what the role of treasurer involves. "The state treasurer handles all your money, and investing the state money and earning interest on it produces the largest single source of income for the state's general funds," she said. Alabama's treasury handles millions of dollars each day.

Baxley also discussed two programs headed by the treasury department. She recommended parents check into Alabama's Prepaid Affordable College Tuition Program (PACT), which is a college savings plan. Baxley said PACT should be the "bread and butter" of college savings. There are currently over 53,000 children enrolled in this program.

Another treasury program she discussed was the Unclaimed Property Division. Baxley noted that there is over $125 million in unclaimed funds in Alabama. She warned, however, of the dangers of fraud regarding this program. She mentioned that senior citizens are especially targeted by companies offering to file their claims for a fee. Baxley said it costs nothing to find out whether or not someone has unclaimed assets held by the state, nor does it cost anything to file a claim.

A native of Houston County, Baxley had a career in real estate and held governmental positions at the city, county, and state levels before she was elected state treasurer in 1994. She won a second term in 1998. It has been a job she says she loves. She is currently running for state lieutenant governor. She will face Bill Armistead(R) in the November election.