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Q&A with Arizona Treasurer, Kimberly Lee

By April 9, 2024April 15th, 2024No Comments

Treasurer Kimberly Yee is the first Asian American elected to a statewide office in Arizona’s history. She is also the first Chinese American Republican woman to win a major statewide office in the history of the United States. In 2010, she became the first Asian American woman elected to the Arizona Legislature and served for eight years. She is the Administrator of the AZ529 Education Savings Plan, comes from a family line of small business owners and prior to elected office, served in the administrations of a former state treasurer and two past governors.

1. Q: Treasurer Yee, you’re one of the most well-respected politicians in Arizona. Tell us something about yourself that isn’t widely known?

A: My family owned and operated one of the earliest established grocery stores in South Phoenix in the 1930s, called New State Market, and it successfully served the area for over 63 years. Having deep roots in Arizona led me to serve in public service to make laws and govern in a way that makes our state better and even more successful in the years to come.

2. Q: What is the most common misconception people have about your work as State Treasurer (or thing they are surprised you do).

A: People think I’m the tax collector of the state, but I’m not. That’s the Arizona Department of Revenue as that agency collects taxes. As State Treasurer, I’m the Chief Banking and Investment Officer of the State, and I manage $64.7 billion, and invest funds that benefit the state, local governments, school districts and taxpayers.


3. Q: What are you most proud of in your work with the AZ529 program?

A: I asked for the AZ529 Education Savings Plan to be placed under my administration 41 months ago. In that short period of time, we have increased new AZ529 accounts by nearly 39,000 new accounts. We have reached diverse communities and families who have never even thought about an opportunity for college or workforce training, but now they have that pathway to get started.


4. Q: What is in store for future AZ 529 outreach?

A: With the help of great partners and our internal Arizona Treasury team, we market AZ529 to grandparents, aunts and uncles, adults going back to school, and others who may not know that they, too, can receive tax benefits when they contribute to an AZ529 plan. We will continue to market the program with tribal communities, Spanish-speaking families, industry groups, and nonprofits serving populations in need.


5. Q: How would you suggest individuals and businesses get involved to strengthen the financial health of Arizona?

A: I have been a longtime advocate of financial education and helping individuals and families be wise about their personal money management. I believe the financial well-being of our families directly affects the greater fiscal health of the State of Arizona. Individuals and businesses can learn more about our financial literacy efforts and resources on our website at or opening an AZ529 Plan at


6. Q: What advice would you give to young people looking to make a difference in the state.

A: Young people have an opportunity to engage in their communities by finding an important issue and helping advocate for that effort. For me, I was a high school senior and journalist who cared about First Amendment free press rights, so I testified in support of legislation to help advance that message. I saw firsthand that my age didn’t matter when I participated in the lawmaking process. But, more importantly, that my voice did matter.


7. Q: What advice would you give your younger self.

A: I have always worked hard. In my early career I would work around the clock. It wasn’t until I took an intentional pause that new and amazing things happened. Taking time for yourself is important and you will see the results.