Showing posts with label District 1. Show all posts
Showing posts with label District 1. Show all posts

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cowger Will Not Seek Reelection As Commissioner

POCOMOKE CITY -- Worcester County Commissioner Bobby Cowger will not seek reelection for the First District seat this fall.

The Pocomoke City resident and local business owner has served two nonconsecutive terms -- the first in the mid-1990s and the second starting in 2006. Being a commissioner has become a full-time commitment, Cowger said, and between running his paving and site development business, he can't put in the hours needed.

"I've just got a lot of other things going on right now," he said. "I'm not saying I won't run again two or three terms down the road, when I'm retired."

Cowger is set to be the only commissioner to step down at the end of this term. However, two others, Commissioners Linda Busick and Virgil Shockley -- both of whom have announced their intentions run -- have not yet filed their candidacy. The deadline to do so is July 6.

Looking back at his time in office, Cowger said he is pleased that the renovations of Pocomoke High School were kept on track and that the three land use departments -- Develop-ment Review and Permitt-ing, Environmental Programs and Compre-hensive Planning -- had been consolidated, streamlining the process for development and home and business improvements.

Cowger, a Democrat, was perhaps most known for his concerns over the county's budgeting process and his calls to run local government more like a business. He was the sole vote in opposition to the 2010-11 spending plan.

"You've got to make your cuts and stay within your means, and I don't think the county did a good job of that," Cowger said, adding that government itself needs to shrink to keep up with falling revenues. "I predict large tax increases over the next term."

Whether that happens will be up to the next set of commissioners, and three men have already stepped forward to fill the District 1 seat. Jimmy Schoolfield, a local business owner and ordained minister, will likely face the winner of the Republican primary between Larry F. Ward and Merrill W. Lockfaw, Jr.

Ward, a Worcester County native, is the proprietor of Ward's Tree Service.

"I'm dead-set against raising taxes because there can be cuts made all over the place," Ward said. If elected Ward plans to push for a four-day, 10-hour work week for all nonessential employees, eliminating energy and maintenance with keeping buildings open an extra day and better serving citizens who cannot make it to county offices during conventional work hours.

In addition, he would institute cross training requirements for county employees to prevent breaks in service and would push for incentives for jobs, especially those that produce environmentally friendly energy and products.

Lockfaw declined to comment for this story. He is currently the superintendent of Worcester's roads division, although is retiring later this month. Until then, Lockfaw said, he is focused on leading his department.

Schoolfield is currently the only Democrat to have filed for the seat.

"I have decided to run for commissioner in District 1 to be a strong voice for the people," he said. "My focus will be on the crime rate in the district, more activities for our youth, educating our youth with after-school programs and more affordable housing."

Schoolfield, an army veteran, was born in New Church but has long-standing family ties to Pocomoke City. As well as being involved with the local NAACP and Democratic Central Committee, he owns Jae's Electric Company and serves as a minister at Georgetown Baptist Church.