At-Large Bowling Green Councilwoman Sandy Rowland had originally planned to retire from council this year and take the opportunity to travel – plans thwarted by the pandemic.
Now she’s seeking election to a new post – that of council’s Fourth Ward representative.
Last week, members of the Bowling Green Fourth Ward’s Democratic Central Committee unanimously chose Rowland to run for the Fourth Ward seat currently held by Republican Bill Herald. That ballot position for the Nov. 2 election was left vacant by the withdrawal of Sandy Lepper, according to a release.
“I really felt when I initially ran that being on council was just doing public service for a community that had been good to you,” Rowland said in an interview this week. “There’s a very good feeling when you know you’re giving back to a community and making lives better for people around you.”
During a meeting of the Wood County Democratic Party’s Executive Committee in January, it was noted that Rowland, who currently serves as council president pro tem, would not be running again for her at-large seat.
Rowland said this week that last time she ran for council, she’d said “I wasn’t going to be running this year as council person in my seat that I held. There was another person that wanted that seat, and that was (current First Ward representative) Mark Hollenbaugh, so he filed the paperwork and took that seat.
“So, the big question is,” said Rowland, “why would I go back to the Fourth Ward? I live in the Fourth Ward,” and she said that Lepper was “saving the seat if anyone decided to run” and was planning to withdraw under that circumstance.
“That’s often done in both parties,” Rowland said, “someone holds a seat for someone else.” She said that others asked her to pursue the seat and after deep thought she decided to run for another two years.
“We knew it was going to be vacant, and so I just made the decision to throw my hat in the ring one more time,” she said.
Rowland said she’d originally pursued the Fourth Ward seat 10 years ago, but was narrowly defeated by Greg Robinette, who now holds another of council’s at-large seats. However, shortly thereafter, she was chosen by the Democratic Party to fill the last two years of the term of at-large councilman Joel Kuhlman, who became county commissioner, beginning her tenure on council.
Ward representatives in Bowling Green serve for two years, while at-large representatives serve for four years.
“The retirement plans,” Rowland explained, “were kind of destroyed by the pandemic. I am retiring from real estate in January and I had planned on international travel, traveling a lot, and taking my grandson different places that I had seen and loved … but with the pandemic it’s just not safe to do anything international” and she said she’s wary of situations “where you’re out and about and around a lot of people.”
Rowland said she hopes to accomplish in the Fourth Ward “the same things I did when I was representing everyone. … The way I campaign is every day, I’m around people who live in Bowling Green, and I listen to them. … I will just continue to do that and just do a good job of representing the Fourth Ward” which, she noted, is a very large ward.
“I love being on council, I love representing people, I’m thrilled with our leadership that is taking us forward and is making some very positive changes for our community. So I’d love to work on those projects that have yet to be changed for two more years and see those to completion.”