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District I commish candidates seek accountability: Cowan cites planning experience
April 17, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

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Chuck Cowan

In a crowded field of four candidates, Chuck Cowan of Gering is seeking to replace the retiring Mike Marker as a Scotts Bluff County Commissioner in District I.

A native of western Nebraska, Cowan has lived in Gering for the past 40 years and is the owner of Cowan’s Custom Cabinets. He also served with the Scottsbluff Fire Department for 17 years.

“I’m very familiar with the county and the challenges we face,” he said. “I lived in a lot of country areas while growing up and attended different country schools.”

Although this is Cowan’s first run at public office, he’s served as general chairman of Oregon Trail Days for several years and was also a member of the Gering Planning Commission.

“I’ve been thinking about running for commissioner, but not until Mike Marker decided not to run,” he said. “When I heard he wasn’t going to seek another term, I called him to make sure that was the case and he encouraged me to make a run for the position.”

Cowan said taxes is an ongoing challenge for any government entity, determining the best way to wisely spend the public’s money. And one of the most common places to cut government is in personnel.

“I don’t know if cutting personnel is always the best way to go,” Cowan said. “The people who do the actual work are the ones to get cut off. I think there are a lot of other areas where cuts can be made at any government level. We need to find areas where we can operate more efficiently.”

Cowan said one of the areas he wants to explore further as a commissioner is the operation of the county detention facility. “I don’t know if doing things differently will make the operation better or more efficient, but I think it’s worth looking into.”

Another major expenditure for the county is the hundreds of miles of county roads and numerous bridges, many of which are decades old and in need of upgrading.

“I don’t think we’re going to create any more county roads, but we need to take care of the ones we have,” he said.

He also said he wants to look at how the county interacts with the court system to make sure the relationship is working well for all parties.

“My main focus is on the people,” he said. “If anyone has a complaint, I want to hear about it and get them an answer. I might not always be able to help, but I want to hear from them and be completely truthful with them.”

His philosophy for being a county commissioner is, “Treat people the way you want to be treated.”

Cowan will face Kirk Arnold, Ryan Reuter and Mark Reichert for the District I county commissioner position in the May 13 primary. All candidates have filed as Republicans. Because there are no challengers on the Democratic ticket, the winner will advance unopposed to the Nov. 4 general election.

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