Former state fire chief Joe Lowe to run for governor - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Former state fire chief Joe Lowe to run for governor

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Former state wildland fire division director Joe Lowe tells us he wants to return to public service but this time as governor of South Dakota.

Lowe is the first democrat to join the race.

And he believes his past experience in emergency management and as mayor of Mission Viejo, California, has prepared him for the job.

KSFY News spoke with Lowe today about why he decided to run.

Lowe believes there's a lot of room for improvement here in South Dakota.

Especially when it comes to low wages and government transparency.

But it was his dissatisfaction with state emergency operations center during the October snow storm which pushed him over the edge and inspired him to run.

It was an early October snowstorm which inspired former state fire chief Joe Lowe to run for office.

"I thought, we can do better. This isn't something that should have happened, this was the worst storm in decades, and so why was the emergency state operations center not open. and so that pushed me in to the race," Lowe said.

But it could be a long road to the capitol for Lowe. South Dakota hasn't elected a Democrat to the top spot in Pierre in more than 40 years.

"Where we need to be now, for me is we've got to find a balance between ideology and pragmatism. We have to. And we've got to find the place where we agree to disagree and move forward," Lowe said.

Lowe believes his experience in managing a crisis, can propel the state forward.

"If the tactics aren't working day one through seven, do you stick with the same tactics? No you don't, you move on. And you move on and change your tactics or get a new team. We've had the old team for a long time and I haven't seen much change in tactics," Lowe said.

And that includes more transparency in our state government and higher wages for teachers.

"Teacher pay, teacher pay we're last. What's our future, our future is children, change the world of a child and you change the world," Lowe said.

There was no big announcement in front of TV cameras for Lowe to declare his candidacy, just simply this press release, for now.

"I know what it took in Mission Viejo to win the election down there and it takes money and a campaign manager.  Its also going to take folks on the ground and I've started to establish those ground contacts right now," Lowe said.

Only five out of 32 governors in the state's history have been Democrats.

Lowe says he doesn't have a campaign manager yet, but plans to get one soon to kick off his campaign in January.  

Joining Lowe in the race for governor are former state representative Lora Hubbel who's running as a Republican; former professor Mike Myers, running as an independent; and while he hasn't made a formal announcement yet, Governor Daugaard is expected to seek another term.

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