Richard Brown Sr., the assistant accountant for Dane County, says he has seen this community grow into something powerful, yet damaging. He wants young people, the future of Dane County, to do what’s best for their success. To make not the absolute right decisions, but the relevant ones. That’s a key component of Brown’s campaign to be the next Dane County Treasurer.
“It’s a little difficult when you’re a person of color running for office as opposed to when you know you have all the connections,” he says.”For example, you know it’s hard for me to raise money because the very people that will be supporting me, are the people that are underprivileged, and underprivileged [people] don’t have money. So you know, it’s hard for me to go out and ask people who don’t have money for money.” Lifting those very people up, though, is one of his many motivations why he wants to be the next Treasurer.
Brown’s slogan for his campaign, in nice big letters, says “Experience Matters”.
“If experience doesn’t matter then people would just give up,” he says. He feels that the more experience one has, the better they can be for the community.
“Whenever you are dealing with public finance, if you can’t talk the language and you don’t know it, you can’t get anything done,” he says. “My other opponents, they’ll come in and spend the majority of their time just trying to figure out the financial part. Well I already know the financial part! So now I can get into the actual services that I want to provide.”
Brown says he is qualified for this job not only because he has been a Financial Auditor, but a Director of Operations, a Budget Analyst, a Title 1A Accountant, an elected Dane County Supervisor, and lastly his current job, an Assistant Accountant for Dane County. On top of that, Brown has a plan.
A major part in his plan involves financial literacy within Dane County. “I believe that the treasurer should be the authority on financial literacy. And so what I want to do is promote financial literacy in our community,” says Brown. He wants to start teaching kids about money so the “underrepresented population now become productive members of society, thus increasing the treasury because now there’s more people that’s adding to the financial growth of the community.
“I want to do a private partnership with organizations like Summit Credit Union, United Way, and also we have UW Extension. So I don’t have to recreate the wheel, all we have to do is just pull it together.” This is how Brown plans on increasing financial literacy. Not just a partnership with organizations but schools too.
Another major topic that came up was amplifying the Internal Controls, the rules or guidelines meant to prevent financial fraud. Brown says that “When we talk about internal control and separation of duties, the same person writing the check is not the same person that’s making the decisions on what to spend. So now you don’t have to worry about fraud, you don’t have to worry about money going away because the internal controls are in place- I can do that and create efficiency in our County.”
Brown also says, “as efficiency increases, that means we can increase. We can collect more revenue faster, we can invest our money and then again get more money in our investments, thus reducing the burden to the taxpayers. So that’s my goal: to reduce the burden to the taxpayers, and (increase) financial literacy.”