Monday, June 8, 2009

Q&A with Sen. Cameron Brown (R-16th District)

Sen. Cameron Brown is currently a candidate to replace Sec. of State Terry Lynn Land, who cannot run for the office again due to term limits. Sen. Brown represents the 16th District in southcentral Michigan. He graciously took the time to answer some questions about his candidacy.

1) What unique strengths do you feel you would bring to the office of Secretary of State?

Ken, I think my greatest strength as a candidate for Secretary of State is my dedication to my conservative values through thick and thin. I've passed a long list of bills during my time in the legislature - everything from a ban on partial birth abortions to tax credits that will attract logistical and warehousing facilities to our state. But my greatest accomplishment has been earning a reputation in the legislature as a defender of Republican principles whether politically popular or not.

For example, when Gov. Granholm tried to reward big campaign donors with a no-bid contract to build an ill-equipped, $90 million State Police headquarters, I was one of only a few Republicans willing to stand up and oppose this gross waste of taxpayer dollars. There was intense pressure to compromise our core conservative principles of limited government and fiscal responsibility, but I refused to do so. Now, 100 State Police troopers are on the verge of being laid off while a lavish new headquarters is being completed in Lansing for those who remain on the job. This is simply irresponsible.

I've taken tough stands on tough issues like this throughout my career. My conservative values aren't just bullet points on a campaign brochure - they're my guiding principles, and they will continue to guide me as Secretary of State.

2) What are the one or two most important issues facing the Secretary of State over the next five years?

For many Michigan residents, their interaction with the Secretary of State is limited to renewing their driver's or boat license at their local branch office. Certainly, continuing the outstanding efforts of Candice Miller and Terri Lynn Land to improve customer service and capitalize on new technologies will be among my top priorities. However, the greatest challenge facing the next Secretary of State will be the tremendous responsibility of protecting one of our most sacred rights - the right to vote.

We only need to look back to the elections of 2008 for a reminder that this right is constantly at risk from groups like A.C.O.R.N. who would bend, if not break, election law if not for strong, vigilant secretaries of state. Protecting our state and nation's principle of "one person, one vote" will be my top priority as Secretary of State.

3) You are generally considered a pretty conservative member of the legislature, while the Secretary of State's office is viewed by some as "almost" non-partisan. Why should we look at whether a person is conservative or not, when voting on a Secretary of State candidate?

Last year's election is a reminder of the vital role secretaries of state play in our democracy. Some secretaries looked the other way when groups like A.C.O.R.N. attempted to compromise election law. Others, such as Terri Lynn Land, defended the sanctity of our ballot box.

A conservative secretary of state is one that will strictly enforce the letter of state and federal election law, and who will defend our right to vote at all costs. I believe my record of defending conservative values no matter the circumstances has prepared me for this important role.

4) Terry Lynn Land has overseen a number of changes during her time as Secretary of State. Do you expect to retain most of these changes? Are there some you would like to undo? Are there any you would like to take further?

Terri Lynn Land and Candice Miller have done a tremendous job capitalizing on advancements in technology during their time in office. The Secretary of State customer experience is substantially better today than it was decades ago. I will build on their accomplishments and continue to explore ways to make your interaction with the Secretary of State as simple and efficient as possible. I'm eager to explore improvements in internet transactions, as well as bringing branch offices to places you frequent on a regular basis - such as grocery stores or shopping malls.

5) Is there any personal tidbit about yourself that you would want people to know?

When I meet with young people, I often share with them the fact that I attended T.C. Williams High School, depicted in the popular Disney movie "Remember the Titans" starring Denzel Washington. It was a time of great challenges, but entrenched differences were set aside for the common good. Exceptional teamwork led to incredible accomplishments.

The story of my high school's football team is a reminder to young and old alike that to be an American is to be a team player. Citizenship requires participation - it is not a spectator sport. Now, more than ever, we must pull together - like the T.C. Williams Titans did - to meet the challenge of a common goal. This goes for Republicans and for our state as a whole. You can read much more about my background, my wife Helen, and my campaign on my website, at:

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