Brian S

Tell us about yourself: who you are, where you're from, etc.

I was born and raised in Indiana but my home has been in Wisconsin for over 47 years. I spent 20+ years leading several nonprofit corporations before accepting two political appointments - first as executive director of Brown County (Green Bay) Human Services and later as the administrator of the Long Term Care Division of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services under Governor Walker's administration. I retired from the latter in 2016.

I'm an active cross country skier and cyclist. I've published various articles on "silent sports." I enjoy traveling throughout the country (especially in the Rocky Mountain region) and would like to see more of Europe than I have.

What does being a "Centrist" mean to you, and why did you get involved?

Early in my life I was more of an left-of-center ideologue. Later, I swung right, moderately so. But for the last 15 years, I've identified myself as simply being pragmatic in my political philosophy. If pragmatism can be labeled as being centrist, I wouldn't debate the term, although I no longer see the political continuum as a linear concept.

But political pragmatism does not preclude having a foundation of strongly held values. I find myself more open these days to considering ideas from various voices throughout much of the political spectrum. As I get older, the list of things I know for sure is shrinking.

What is a policy issue you are passionate about and why?

I'd rather the question read "What policy issues are you COMMITTED to?" Passion seems to be derailing us lately. It's an emotion that can close minds. Isn't this a time for opening them, mine included? Some of the values that underpin my political beliefs include civil rights (as in the teachings of MLK, Jr), conservation (have Republicans forgotten their legacy in this area?), and health care (I believe it's a right, but would it be so unreasonable for Democrats to embrace medical savings accounts for routine care?).

How do you think we can unite our country and fix our politics?

We've lost our way. When was the last time we heard members of either party invoke the term "loyal opposition"? Social media and the advocacy journalism on cable news have allowed each of us to consume news tailored to our pre-existing political beliefs. The Centrist Project can perhaps help. I'd like to see it (us) develop strategies in this area.

Anything else you'd like to add?

I already went too long.

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