BOWIE – Kelly P. Rowe, a retired member of the U.S. Army who served on active duty for 21 years, filed his candidacy for the District 2 city council seat last week.
“The city council this year looks like there’s going to be a lot of new faces and some other faces changing seats, and I feel like this year with the amount of change that looks like it’s on the horizon, this will be a good year to put my name into the hat,” Rowe said.
Diane Polangin, the incumbent, has already filed for reelection in November, but Rowe said he thinks people should vote for him because he brings a “new perspective” to the community and a fight against complacency.
“When you have somebody who’s been in a seat for a number of years, sometimes new ideas maybe do not get brought to the table,” Rowe said. “Sometimes, complacency can get in there and with somebody new coming in, a new perspective and fresh ideas can help revitalize different areas and bring some new, fresh ideas to the table that are already there.”
Rowe, 52, earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Maryland, University College and also a master’s degree in public relations, which he thinks makes him a viable candidate.
“I feel I have a great ability to reach and speak to people and get their ideas moving forward. I believe I can be out more into the community, a little more reachable,” Rowe said. “So people can talk with me, communicate their ideas and things to me so I can help them get things done within the city.”
Rowe said he has concerns about the Melford Development, which he says will increase traffic on Belair Drive and have nearly twice as many cars daily on the road than designed for.
“That is a concern of mine moving forward because if you have multiple safety issues, as far as the amount of traffic, speed and all those things have got to be considered moving forward,” he said.
If elected, Rowe said he plans to work with the rest of the council to establish new relationships with people and keep the city moving forward, including greater transparency. Rowe believes that one way to decrease public scrutiny is to be transparent, a job he thinks Bowie city council does well.
“But people also have a responsibility to get involved,” said Rowe. “Last election, only 11 percent of the registered voters in Bowie voted, just a little over 4,000 of the 44,000 people that are registered to vote. People have a responsibility to be involved in their community.”
If elected, Rowe will push to have another high school built in Bowie which he said has grown to nearly 54,000 people in the community with another 2,500 homes as part of the Melford plan that will bring more students to the city.
“Those students are going to have to go somewhere for their education, especially when they reach high school age so that’s adding another dimension to a situation that was already there,” Rowe said.
Rowe moved to Bowie in 1999. He works at Fort Meade where he serves in the defense information school teaching military public affairs.