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Candidate Q&A: State treasurer Democratic primary

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With Sarah Godlewski running for U.S. Senate, the state Treasurer’s seat is up for grabs this fall. On the Democratic side, three candidates are running in the Aug. 9 primary for the opportunity to go on to the Nov. 8 election.

The winner of the primary will face either John Leiber or Orlando Owens, Republican candidates running for the seat. The term is four years.

Gillian Battino

Battino

Gillian Battino

Age: 52

Address: Wausau

Family: Married with six children

Job: Radiologist, Marshfield Clinic

Other public service: RAD-AID International, director Caribbean and Central American Section, 2013-21

Education: Bachelor’s degree in biology, John Carroll University; medical degree, Ohio State University College of Medicine; radiology residency, University of Cincinnati Hospitals; breast imaging fellowship, UW School of Medicine and Public Health

Website: GillianforWI.com

Aaron Richardson

Age: 46

Address: Fitchburg

Family: Single

Job: Tech specialist, Oregon School District

Prior elected office: Fitchburg mayor since 2019, Fitchburg Common Council, 2017-19

Other public service: Fitchburg Parks and Recreation commission for nine years

Education: Bachelor’s degree in marketing and management, UW-Green Bay; master’s degree in business administration, UW-Whitewater

Email, website: aaronforwi@gmail.com, www.aaronforwi.com and

Angelito Terorio

Age: 26

Address: West Allis

Family: Not married, no children.

Job: Recently left job as engagement and development manager at Wisconsin Conservation Voters to focus on campaign

Prior elected office: West Allis City Council since 2020

Other public service: Private first class, Wisconsin Army National Guard, 2015-18

Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science, UW-Madison

Website: angelitoforwi.com

Q&A

Why are you the best candidate for the job?

Battino: As a woman, mom, physician, prior small business owner and experienced NPO/public health worker, I bring a history of innovative, energetic, responsible achievement. I know how to make progress on a small budget. I have done it before. I understand how economic insecurity affects well-being and I refuse to accept the direction of government for the sake of our children.

Richardson: I am the best candidate because of the relevant experience I have. I am the most qualified candidate for this role. I have the experience in public service as Fitchburg mayor, experience in the private sector working in the credit union and insurance world, experience working in our school systems and the education.

Terorio: I’m not a millionaire, and I understand firsthand the financial struggles that millions of Wisconsinites are going through as we weather rising inflation, while trying to save for our future. With my experience, unique perspective, and progressive vision, I’m the best candidate to build on Treasurer Godwleski’s legacy and do even more as treasurer to serve every Wisconsin community.

What unique experience/expertise do you bring to the office?

Battino: I have worked extensively as a director for a nonprofit and the WHO to build accessible, affordable healthcare and education infrastructure with very little resources. I am an energetic, innovative, experienced leader with proven results despite a pandemic, political volatility, and cultural disparity. I know how to bring people together.

Richardson: During my time as Fitchburg mayor I have accomplished a lot and dealt with unique challenges like COVID-19. I have also been an advocate for diversity during my time as mayor. The best example of this is recognizing Pride Month for the first time in our history, raising the Pride flag outside city hall and keeping the flag up year-round.

Terorio: As an alderman serving on the finance committee, I have experience managing the largest budget (over $130 million) in this race. I also bring a unique perspective as a person of color and son of Filipino immigrants, and as a military veteran. I’ve been a champion of progressive causes as an alderman and as a climate and political activist for years.

What goals would you bring to the state treasurer’s office and how would you work to accomplish those?

Battino: I will build the office in both size and scope by promoting the Achieving a Better Life Experience program, which allows both veterans and civilians with disabilities to create a tax sheltered 529 plan without affecting their SSI and other benefits and working with non-profit organizations such as Urban League to promote real banking solutions to unbanked and underbanked people across our state … I will intentionally seek renewable energy projects and BIPOC community projects for loans through the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands where the Treasurer is a board member. I will work with NPOs and community members to be sure these loans are accessible. I will use my role as Treasurer of the State’s health insurance program to demand prescription drug price lists so that patients and providers know at the point of care, the cost of a prescription.

Richardson: I will provide financial literacy information to people of all ages and provide the materials in English, Spanish and Hmong. I also am an advocate for increasing home ownership. I am piloting a rent to own program in Fitchburg that I want to bring to the entire state. This unique program will make home ownership viable for everyone.

Terorio: I’ll use the bully pulpit of the office to be a champion for the progressive fiscal policies that are best for our state and I won’t be afraid to call out the GOP on their wasteful spending, like on the Gableman investigation. Additionally, I’ll prioritize climate action and equity when directing funds from public trusts, investing in sustainability and in communities that need funding the most.

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