Tishomingo City Attorney and former Mayor Dustin Rowe (pictured left) stated in a press that he would be forming an exploratory committee to consider running for the seat vacated by current Rep. Dan Boren, who announced he would not be running again in early June.
Rowe, 35, said he has been considering the decision for about a month. He was born in Ada in 1975, but grew up in Tishomingo. He served two terms as Tishomingo’s mayor from 1994 to 1999, after being appointed to the city council upon a previous council member’s resignation. He was 18 and still a junior at Tishomingo High School, and became the then-youngest mayor in the state and the country.
REASONS TO RUN
Rowe said he wants to represent the growing number of local conservatives in the district recently loosening its grip as a Democratic stronghold of Oklahoma.
As of January, in the 2nd District, there are 247,508 registered Democrats (a 10-percent drop from 2004) and 103,464 registered Republicans (a 10-percent rise), according to the Oklahoma State Election Board.
“I think we need someone who’s devoted to this district, and I really believe we need someone who’s committed to literally Main Street values,” Rowe said. “That’s the life I’ve lived.”
Upon graduating from East Central University, he worked in Washington, D.C., for former 3rd District Rep. Wes Watkins. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Law, and has lived in Tishomingo since, running a law practice and serving as a public official. He is married and has two children.
Rowe said federal government has been stepping over too many boundaries lately. He recently represented a Tishomingo small business in a civil suit against the U.S. Department of Labor, which enforced several harsh labor laws against the owners who felt infringed upon, he said.
“We need someone that’s trained to understand what the Constitution is … and I think I would be type of candidate,” Rowe said, noting he learned as mayor that “government can be used to help make people’s lives better, but that government should be limited, and that government closest to the people is the best form of government.”
He said he plans to make a final decision of candidacy in the next 30 to 60 days.
Founded in 1856 by the Chickasaw Nation, the Johnston County seat has a population of 3,034, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Located southeast of Oklahoma County, Tishomingo is home to a large American Indian population of 14.7 percent.