Former S.D. wildfire suppression manager running for governor as Democrat

Former S.D. wildfire suppression manager running for governor as Democrat

01 December 2013

published by

USA — Joe Lowe made his name on the lines of South Dakota’s wildfires. Now the emergency management specialist is hoping citizens will know him as something else: South Dakota’s governor.

Lowe, who was South Dakota’s director of Wildland Fire Suppression from 2001 to 2012, announced over the weekend that he’d run for governor next year as a Democrat.

“We’re last in teacher pay in the United States … we’re near the bottom on wages paid to people,” said Lowe, 68, who currently runs an art gallery in Rapid City and leads an emergency management consulting firm. “If we’re last in a lot of categories in the state, it shows us the things we’re doing aren’t working and we need to make a change. I think the state is ready for a change.”

Incumbent Gov. Dennis Daugaard, a Republican, is expected to seek another term. Another Republican, former lawmaker Lora Hubbel, is challenging Daugaard in the GOP primary, while Mike Myers, a former law professor and health care administrator, is running as an independent.

Before then-Gov. Bill Janklow hired Lowe in 2001 to run South Dakota’s wildfire battle, he had made his name in California. There, he worked in the fire department and also served as a city councilor and mayor in the Orange County city of Mission Viejo, which has just more than 90,000 people.

“I think I’m a good blend of what we need,” Lowe said. “I’ve got proven leadership, and I understand the political side of it.”

Lowe served under Daugaard as well as Janklow and Mike Rounds.

Tony Venhuizen, Daugaard’s spokesman, said the governor has no reaction to Lowe’s candidacy.

“He is focused on running the state and getting ready for the legislative session,” Venhuizen said.

So far, Lowe is the first Democrat to enter the governor’s race. Zach Crago, the South Dakota Democratic Party’s executive director, said Democrats are “excited to have a good, well-qualified candidate” in Lowe but that “more and more Democrats are going to be interested in running” against Daugaard.

No Democrat has been elected governor of South Dakota since Dick Kneip in 1974.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
WP-Backgrounds Lite by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann 1010 Wien