2013 Forty Under 40: Claudia Fuentes

 

“The private sector pays double what we earn. But it’s gratifying and fulfilling. I know I’m doing something good for the people of Marion County.”

Age: 36

Treasurer, Marion County

When Claudia Fuentes was elected Marion County treasurer in November, she became the first Latina elected to countywide office in Indiana. She considers that milestone “huge.”

“I’m striving to make my community more aware of their importance,” she said, “and give them a voice in government that wasn’t necessarily there in the past.”

Toward that end, she also serves on U.S. Rep. Andre Carson’s Latino Advisory Council, is a member of the Indiana Democratic Party State Central Committee representing the Latino population and works as treasurer of the Indiana Latino Democratic caucus.

Fuentes, who was born and raised in northwest Indiana, said she always had a head for math. She went to the Indiana University Kelley School of Business knowing she wanted a degree in finance. After college, she worked for the state Department of Commerce as a financial analyst, eventually moving up to tax incentives manager—looking at projects that would bring jobs.

At the same time, she started her MBA at Butler University. Near the end of her master’s work, she took a job with the Marion County auditor that involved property taxes. Five years later, when an opening came up in the Treasurer’s Office, “I had a really good background to get there,” she said.

In January 2012, treasurer Michael Rodman resigned and Fuentes was appointed to replace him. She won the job outright in the November election, amassing 60 percent of the vote.

As treasurer, her job is to bill, collect, invest and distribute property taxes, and provide financial analysis related to the functions.

“It’s not a quiet office,” she said. “Every single homeowner in the county does business with our office. Every homeowner has to pay property taxes.”•

 

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