Southeast Missouri State University history professor Wayne Bowen hopes to fill Kathy Swan’s place on the Cape Girardeau City Council. Swan is leaving the council at the end of the year to serve in the Missouri House of Representatives.
Bowen has served on the city’s historic preservation and planning and zoning commissions.
“It’s been interesting to see the city at work. [There’s] some exciting changes happening in the last few years, and even more going forward,” Bowen said. “I would like to be a part of it at a little higher level than serving on the commissions and continue some of the excellent work that Kathy Swan started as the Councilperson for Ward 6.”
The City Council can appoint an interim council holder until elections are held in April. If more than two candidates express an interest in the seat, the April election will serve as a primary. Another election would then be held in August.
Bowen, a Republican, says he would be interested in an appointment as a placeholder, but his primary purpose is to run a campaign to fill out the remainder of Swan’s term.
“I anticipate other people will be interested in running for the position. So I’m preparing for a campaign to go door-to-door and ask for people’s support,” Bowen said.
Bowen says he would like to encourage business development by addressing the lack of a business or industrial park, and he would like to improve Cape Girardeau police retention rates, perhaps with a salary increase. He wants to build a positive relationship with Isle of Capri casino.
“I think it has the potential to bring a lot of exciting things to the city, but I want to make sure the city continues to be mindful of shaping not only the relationship with the gaming company but also with the direction that the revenues go ... to make sure they’re for the benefit of the broadest possible number of citizens,” Bowen said.
Bowen adds that he thinks the City Council is going in the right direction on a recent underage drinking ordinance by more rigorously enforcing existing laws.
Bowen ran for elected office twice in Arkansas - both times for justice of the peace, which is similar to a County Commissioner. He lost in 2002. In 2006, he won by 3 votes.
“It was a very close race,” Bowen said with a laugh. “To be elected as a Republican in southwest Arkansas at the time was a pretty remarkable achievement, especially as my district was going almost 2 to 1 for Democrats in almost any other contest. So I know how to campaign. I know how to work hard for it. And I don’t take any votes or any support for granted.”
In addition to teaching at Southeast, Bowen is a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve. He deployed to Bosnia and Iraq and he is now the Senior Human Resources Officer (G1) for the 310 Expeditionary Sustainment Command, in Indianapolis, Indiana.