Owen Charles has lived in Madison for 13 years with his wife Lynne and three children. He served on the Board of Finance in 2007-2009 as a Democrat, serving as liaison to the Police Commission and Library Board. He has an MBA focused on Healthcare Management, and has worked in the healthcare industry for many years in business and finance roles and is also a Registered Nurse.
He hopes to bring to the Board of Finance a forward-looking vision- to investments in the future like the best public use of historic Academy school, but also transparency and ethics in town government, and opening up public input to more people around town then just a vocal few, through social media and outreach. In his previous tenure on the board he was a strong voice for public schools, seniors, and adequately funding future needs, such as road maintenance capital funds, and future pension-related liabilities.
Integrity and Vision: We are all in This Together- we need to join together to recognize that democracy is not a spectator sport. Participation in government is about the will of the people being recognized and honored and that is what he intends to do.
Often people are manipulated in the political process – they are encouraged to feel that it is us against them and divided by their own interests against others. Sometimes there is a feeling that it is the "special interests" of seniors versus the "special interests" of children and schools or the interests of taxpayers. This approach in general is unfortunate as there are many issues on which people coming together can unite in mutual interest. Strong Schools, Senior Tax Freeze, Investment in Green Energy and technology…It's not a right or left thing… and, importantly, not everything we approve we have to benefit from personally (or immediately).
Politicians sometimes mouth vagaries and turn around and vote down the school budget, or vote against the Senior Tax Freeze, only supporting what is important to them. Owen will not vote against benefits for teachers, kick the can down the road for funding of future needed capital expenditures (roads, pensions, etc.). He will listen to what folks have to say. Welcoming the core group who turn up for town meetings (a pretty small club) but also inviting and soliciting input from those who have very busy lives and do NOT come out to a lot of town meetings. Open door policy, Social media, & surveys are ways to ensure your voice is heard, and not only on Election Day.
Two decades in corporate budget management have taught him to analyze spending carefully: To always look for off sets like non-value-added expenditures, unnecessary spending, and sometimes to recognize when an expenditure is not justified by Return on Investment (ROI). There are often areas where we can find cost reductions that enable us to invest in other areas.