Burlington Pharmacist Citing ‘Community Frustration’, Challenges Courtney for State Senate Seat

A Burlington Pharmacist who jumped into the District 44 State Senate Race earlier this week says that he’s looking to give voters a clear choice for who represents them in the Senate.

Tom Greene, a Republican, is challenging 13 year incumbent Tom Courtney for the seat. Greene is a native Burlingtonian who has been a pharmacist in the community for over 40 years.

“We talk to a lot of people [at the pharmacy], and besides just their health concerns, we talk about everything else that’s going on in their community, ranging from Washington Politics to Des Moines Politics to City Hall,” Greene told KBUR, “I sense a lot of frustration from people over government. I want them to have a clear choice as to who they’re going to vote for, and what they stand for and what they believe in.”

He served for several years as president of the Burlington School Board, a position also held by Courtney during his early political career.

Greene plans to focus on economic issues as well as cultural issues specific to District 44 during the campaign.

“Obviously jobs, the economy, and safety, I think a lot of people are concerned about the increase in violent crime that we’ve had in our community. The influx of residents from Illinois–Chicago in particular–is very unsettling to people. When we have people getting shot in the streets over a pair of tennis shoes or a dice game, there are some very valid concerns,” said Greene, referring to the February shooting of 24 year old Deonte Carter and the April killing of 28 year old Matthew Banks in Burlington.

District 44 historically tends to prefer Democrats. Greene says he hopes to attract independent minded voters and say’s he won’t vote along party lines, a criticism he made of Courtney.

“Tom is about as far left as you can go, and that’s his position…he votes strictly along party lines, and I don’t think that’s the pulse of the community,” Greene said.

Courtney responded to Greene’s candidacy on Friday, welcoming the competition. He told KBUR, “This is America. The more the merrier.”