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Candidate Q&A: State treasurer Republican primary

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With Sarah Godlewski running for U.S. Senate, the state treasurer’s seat is up for grabs this fall. Republicans John Leiber and Orlando Owens will meet in the Aug. 9 primary, with the winner going on to the Nov. 8 election.

The winner of the primary will face the winner of the Democratic primary, contested by Gillian Battino, Aaron Richardson and Angelito Terorio, in the Nov. 8 election. The term is four years.

John Leiber


John Leiber

Age: 44

Address: Cottage Grove

Family: Married with three children

Job: Attorney with Klein Law Office

Prior elected office: None

Other public service: Caledonia Parks and Recreation Commission president, 2009-12; Housing Authority of Racine County commissioner, 2011-12; Republican Party of Racine County board member, 2018-22

Education: Bachelor’s degree in history, UW-Parkside; law degree, University of Wisconsin Law School


Orlando Owens


Orlando Owens

Age: 48

Address: 6901 N. 40th Place, Milwaukee

Family: Married with two children

Job: Southeastern regional director for U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson

Prior elected office: None

Other public service: None

Education: Business degree, Morris Brown College in Atlanta



Why are you the best candidate for the job?

Leiber: I’m a true fiscal conservative and I understand the duties of this job. I’ll focus on my responsibilities without expanding the office or governmental reach. I’m committed to preserving and growing the fund overseen by the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands. This fund must stay robust to serve schools and continue providing low-cost loans to municipalities. If this fund is depleted, it’s gone and cannot be replaced.

Owens: I’m prepared to put my real-life experience to work in state government. As a former small business owner, a minister, and co-founder of the Joseph Project alongside Sen. Ron Johnson and Pastor Jerome Smith of Greater Praise Church, I’ve helped people get their feet back on the ground and connect with job opportunities in their community.

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

Leiber: I’m an attorney, former legislative staffer, and experienced board member. I understand the state budget and I know how to advocate for legislation if needed. It’s critical to elect someone with personal and professional integrity who has the ability to effectively communicate and work with a variety of people. I’m the only candidate ready to do the job on day one.

Owens: I grew up in one of the toughest communities in the state to get ahead, but I was able to rise above my circumstances, start a business, and build a great life for my family. Now, I’ve worked in workforce development for over 20 years, and I help others solve their problems and learn how to support themselves and their families.

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

Leiber: I have two goals. 1) Keep the office budget as small as possible while still carrying out its duties, and 2) protect and grow the $1.4 billion trust fund the treasurer helps oversee. I’m the only candidate who doesn’t want to expand the Office of the Treasurer. Adding programs and staff increases spending and I don’t believe that’s necessary in this role.

Owens: I want to bring responsibility and transparency back to the treasurer’s office. I’ll work with the Legislature and governor to provide financial oversight over the influx of federal aid coming into Wisconsin, and I’ll advocate for better education, smarter state spending and helping those citizens who need it most.


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