Denise Nappier (1951-)

Denise Nappier's tenure as Connecticut's State Treasurer has been full of firsts. She is the first African American woman in the United States to become a State Treasurer, as well as "the first African American woman elected to statewide office in Connecticut" and "the only woman to be elected Treasurer in Connecticut history." A Democrat, she has been in office for four terms, beginning in January of 1999, with subsequent re-elections in 2002, 2006 and 2010. She received her undergraduate degree at Virginia State University, and her master's in community planning from the University of Cincinnati.

   

Known for instilling integrity into the office of Treasurer, Nappier has worked on many issues. Her interests include increasing affordable housing for working families in Connecticut and advocating financial literacy. She has focused on improving educational opportunities in Connecticut by working to make higher education affordable. In 2007, she helped create what has been called "the nation’s most accessible and affordable college saving’s program" by introducing "a tax deduction for Connecticut families who contribute to…college savings accounts."

   

Nappier is also a leading proponent of examining climate change. In 2003 and 2005, she was instrumental in instigating the United Nations' Institutional Investor Summit on Climate risk, and also served as a co-chair. She worked in Connecticut with insurance companies and major local industries to investigate "the financial risks and opportunities of climate change for business leaders." This was the first time such a session occurred publically in the United States. The Summit resulted in Wall Street fund management firms analyzing the climate change risk inherent in the portfolios of its companies and industries.

   

She has won a variety of awards for her work promoting integrity and ethics in government, and has been recognized as one of the 50 Most Powerful Black Women in Business by Black Enterprise. She has truly been a trailblazer for social change and for women and African Americans everywhere.

Image credit: State of Connecticut.