By Adam RollinsStaff Writer
For Republican nominee Ben Brown, bringing restraint and accountability to the state government is a major policy goal he hopes to carry into the Missouri Senate next …
By Adam Rollins
For Republican nominee Ben Brown, bringing restraint and accountability to the state government is a major policy goal he hopes to carry into the Missouri Senate next year.
Brown is the Republican nominee for state Senate District 26, which includes Warren, Franklin, Gasconade and Osage counties. Brown is competing for election in November against Democratic nominee John Kiehne, and is the likely favorite in the Republican-leaning district.
Brown told The Record this week that if elected, one of his top priorities in government is to protect citizens from bad government policy.
“It’s as much about stopping bad legislation as it is passing good legislation, at times,” Brown commented.
Brown is a resident of Franklin County and owns a restaurant in St. Louis County. He said he was motivated to run for office after experiencing the negative impact of government regulations on his business during the COVID pandemic.
To prevent others from going through the same hardship, Brown said, he wants to make sure laws aren’t being passed at the state or local level by people who don’t grasp the burdens they’re creating. He hopes his perspective as a small business owner will make an important difference in that regard.
“Unfortunately, laws get passed without the people who are passing them understanding their full implication. There’s a lot of regulations and burdens that don’t need to be there,” Brown said. “I didn’t fully realize the extent of these issues until they were affecting me at the county level. I’m sure there are a number of issues that aren’t even on my radar yet.”
Accountability in government financing is another major goal for Brown. He cited the state’s ballooning budget, which increased from over $20 billion a decade ago to about $49 billion this year, as a serious concern.
“I personally don’t feel like we’re getting double the value from our state government,” Brown quipped. He said lawmakers need to do a better job of combing through the state’s budget and redirecting or cutting money that is being allocated but not spent, or otherwise isn’t well accounted for. That’s just one way government needs to be more accountable in order to maintain the trust of citizens, he said.
Brown said that while campaigning, he’s had one-on-one conversations with many voters, and one of their common concerns was the public education system. People are worried that schools have lost focus on core subject areas and aren’t being accountable to parents, he commented.
“There’s a lot of concern about schools getting away from teaching reading, writing and arithmetic, things that helped (students) develop life skills and be successful later on. Now you see a lot more about certain values being instilled, and the values of the parents being overwritten in some cases,” Brown expanded, saying that he wants to address that topic as a senator. “I think we need to get back to ... developing those life skills, and leave the values to the parents.”
Brown also said he hopes to maintain regular contact with Warren County residents and local government leaders if he’s elected to the state Senate. He said being accessible is extremely important.
“I truly want to be the best representative I can for every county in my district,” Brown noted.
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