DOBSON — Though there is a pack of Republicans in the races for county commissioner, one Democrat has also joined the ranks of hopefuls.
Ronald Bowman, 64, of Groundhog Trail in Pilot Mountain, recently filed for the county’s East District County Commissioner seat. If no other Democrats file he’ll take on either incumbent Republican Paul Johnson, who currently faces felony charges related to his allegedly filing false travel expense forms, or Pilot Mountain resident Van Tucker in the November general election.
Johnson has yet to file for the seat, but has stated he plans to seek re-election.
Bowman said he’s a Democrat with conservative principles.
“I’ve been a Democrat since 1975, but I’m a very, very conservative Democrat,” explained Bowman. “Many of my Republican friends say I’m more conservative than they are.”
Bowman recently retired from a safety and security job at Northern Hospital of Surry County. Prior to working there he also spent time on the Mount Airy Police Department and the Stokes County Sheriff’s Department.
According to Bowman, he has lived in the area — in either Stokes or Surry County — his entire life. He is a graduate of South Stokes High School and Surry Community College.
Bowman said he has been “in and out of politics” throughout his life, having served a term as a precinct chairman in the Democrat Central Committee. However, he said work kept him from seeking another office.
“I didn’t have enough time to justify doing the job,” remarked Bowman. “I told my wife when I retire I just might run for county commissioner.”
Bowman said he sees three issues as being the most important for Surry County’s future — safety, education and jobs.
Bowman said “pumping up law enforcement,” — especially in and around schools — would be a first order of business, ensuring county residents can live their lives safely.
However, he said economic development is what is needed to truly move the county forward. Bowman also said he’s prepared to “get out and promote the county.”
“We need factory jobs with good pay,” said Bowman. “We have to offer incentives to get them here, but if they aren’t here they aren’t paying any taxes to the county anyways.”
Bowman went on to say that the end goal could be a property tax reduction for county residents.
“Many families are struggling, and I’d like to give them some tax relief,” said Bowman.
Bowman said he hasn’t been overly involved in county government. Thus, he said he has no qualms with the current board. However, he said he thinks he can bring much to the board.
“I haven’t attended any meetings, but maybe my knowledge and experience can be beneficial to the county,” explained the commissioner-hopeful.
The filing period for the March primary ends at noon on Dec. 21.
Andy is a staff writer for The News and can be reached at (336) 415-4698.