ST MARYS — After years of serving as St. Marys’ chief executive, Mayor Patrick McGowan now has aspirations to serve at the county level.
McGowan has announced his candidacy to replace incumbent Auglaize County Commissioner Douglas Spencer. Spencer has also announced his intention to re-run for the Auglaize County Commissioner position this year.
McGowan said he’s had an interest in politics since he was a teenager, but he got into it by accident.
“I just have a tremendous sense of civic pride,” he said.
His business background is in advanced technology and natural resources.
“Anything to do with coal fire power plants, I’ve had experience with,” McGowan said.
After he retired, he decided to run for St. Marys City Council in 2010 and won. After serving on council, he decided to run for mayor in 2012 and, to his surprise, he won. According to McGowan, after becoming mayor, he began using his experience with technology to improve issues in St. Marys that had lingered for a while.
“When I came in as mayor, we didn’t even have emails,” he said. “So we had to create an IT department. One of the big projects I’ve been involved in is rebuilding the electric grid in St. Marys.”
McGowan said he also played a role in creating an automated meter system for the village. Before implementing the automated system, it would take two city employees all week to read electric and water meters across the city. After implementing the automatic readers one employee can have all the meters read within a few hours, he said.
One of the things McGowan would like do if elected commissioner is implement supportive technologies like the meter reading system into communities that would benefit from it.
“We have this great thing called technology,” McGowan said. “Why not use it? Don’t ignore it.”
McGowan said he would use his understanding of business to not only help bring businesses into Auglaize County, but also find ways to convince young people, who generally move out of the area, to stay in the county to meet employment demands.
McGowan said he would like to maintain the good working relationship he now has with the other Auglaize County mayors. When he first became mayor, McGowan reached out to other mayors to find out the problems their cities and villages were having. McGowan believes if the mayors maintain a positive relationship to one another, they can stand against state and federal representatives, should they try interfering with home rule.
Reach Bryan Reynolds at 567-242-0362