Richard is running for the open seat on the Dane County Board of Supervisors – District Four.
Richard originally moved to Madison in 1971, but his roots run deep in Dane County. His Yeadon and Gunsolus ancestors settled in southern Dane County in the early 1850s, and his Ballweg and Breunig ancestors settled in northern Dane County in the 1870s. Richard grew up in a large close-knit family on a dairy farm near Wonewoc, Wisconsin and has owned his home in the Bay Creek neighborhood since 1986. He also still owns and maintains the family farm in the upper Baraboo bluffs in southern Juneau County. He is currently working on a wetland restoration project at his farm along the Baraboo River and a woodland restoration project. He has a passion for gardening, nature, genealogy and country line dancing. He has been the leader of Dairyland Cowboys and Cowgirls dance group since 2000. Richard has been a tireless advocate for improved access to health care, LGBT rights, and many other progressive political and environmental issues. His partner, Andrew Ringquist, is a nurse and diabetic nurse educator and landscape architect who is currently working on his Masters degree in nursing education. Richard has a 28-year-old son whom he co-parented with lesbian moms.
Richard graduated from the University of Wisconsin School of Pharmacy in 1974 and has been a Registered Pharmacist for 40 years, working in such varied places as New York City and Mexico. He returned to Madison after taking a 7,000-mile bicycle trip across Canada and the eastern United States. He started as a pharmacist at WSA Pharmacy (now Community Pharmacy) in 1984. The Pharmacy is a worker's cooperative that has been serving the community since 1972, and recently opened a second location on University Avenue in Middleton. Richard spent many years as president of the Community Pharmacy board and is currently vice president as well as chief pharmacist.
Richard has been involved in many organizations over the years. He was an early volunteer for the Madison AIDS Support Network (now ARC) during the early years of the AIDS crisis. He was one of the founders of GALVAnize (now Madison Pride). He was president of the board of The United and helped with its merger with the LGBT Resource Center to become OutReach and was also president of the board of OutReach. He has been on the board of New Harvest Foundation and the City of Madison Business Improvement District Board (BID). He is a member of the Democratic Party of Dane County and Progressive Dane. Richard is also a member of the Wisconsin Mental Health Drug Advisory Committee.
Having seen the effects of mental illness (he has a close family member with mental health and addiction problems), Richard wants to see improved services for the mentally ill and homeless people of Dane County. He has been involved with the needle exchange program, suboxone availability programs and worked to provide overdose treatment programs in the county. He would work to improve availability for drug and alcohol treatment, improve clean needle programs and naloxone availability for drug overdoses and improving access to housing for the homeless population.
Richard and Community Pharmacy have worked to provide low cost health care and alternative medicines to the community. The Pharmacy has worked with Dane County Parents Network, UW Medic Clinics, Dane County First Offenders program, Access Public Health and many other local organizations to provide prescriptions to uninsured patients for many years. Richard and the Pharmacy have won many awards over the years for their service to the community. The Community Shares of Wisconsin Sally Sunde Award for Social Justice in 1997 is just one of his many service awards over the years. Richard is also a University Clinical Instructor with the University of Wisconsin School of Pharmacy.
Richard's other concerns include improving the environment and helping control unchecked growth in Dane County. The county lakes and environment need to be protected for future generations. He also supports a living wage in Dane County. This has been an issue at Community Pharmacy since it started in 1972; the Pharmacy has worked hard to keep a small gap between the lowest paid workers and the highest paid workers, providing a living wage for all workers.