As a fourth generation resident of Williamson County, Josh Brown has come to appreciate a “small-town” feel that he senses still exists in a region that continues to experience exponential growth.
Brown, District 4 representative on the Williamson County Board of Education, especially feels the charm through the schools where he attended and where his three kids are either now enrolled or will be in the coming years.
“The thing I remember about Page Middle and Page High is mostly there was a community feel for the two schools,” said Brown, who graduated from the latter in 1995. “It was out in more of a rural setting, away from a lot of the commercial development and a lot of the growth in Williamson County.
“So it really felt more like a community school. You felt like you knew everybody, and you felt there was a connection. I think Page still has that same feel to it.”
As he runs as a Republican to keep his seat against challengers Bob Britton, a Democrat, and Del Wright, an independent, in the Aug. 4 school board election, Brown is feeling that same community connection with his constituents and the people he meets while campaigning. And it’s those one-to-one engagements that Brown finds most beneficial.
“I still believe the old-fashioned, retail campaign works,” he said. “There’s nothing that can replace actually meeting a voter and having a conversation with them. You can send mail and make phone calls, but there’s still something to be said for looking somebody in the eye and having a conversation and telling them where you stand.
“In the last five or six months of campaigning, I’ve learned a lot on where people stand on the issues and what matters to them.”
Brown came on the board last October after the Williamson County Commission selected him to fill the seat vacated by Brad Fiscus, who moved away from Tennessee with his family. Though commissioners voted overwhelmingly for Brown, there was opposition from many in the audience at the time.
Brown’s position in state government relations for the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, and its role in providing vaccine for the coronavirus, had many concerned about a conflict of interest, but Brown insisted he would recuse himself on any related school board votes.
“I was really honored to get the appointment by the county commission,” he said. “I think that spoke volumes for me about the confidence they had that I could do the job, and I hope I’ve lived up to that. I’ve enjoyed serving and I’m eager to continue serving.”
On the board now for about 10 months, Brown has become comfortable and is one of the more outspoken members.
“I try to be even-keeled, balanced in my approach,” he said. “I try to not have too high of highs and too low of lows. I think whenever arguments become emotional, you lose people. They’re not as willing to listen to you if you’re reacting out of emotion versus being thoughtful.”