Joe Fowler to run for N.C. House District 76

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 23, 2018

SALISBURY — Joe Fowler says he believes in three things: education, the environment and eating.

He said those priorities come from both his professional and family histories, and he plans to focus on all three in his bid for the N.C House District 76 seat.

Fowler, a Democrat, was born and raised in Mount Airy. He graduated from Northland College in Wisconsin with a degree in biology.

The District 76 seat is currently held by Republican Rep. Carl Ford, who has announced his intention to run for the state Senate representing the newly redrawn district 33, which contains Rowan and Stanly counties.

Fowler was a state wildlife officer until 1993, when he began work with the National Wild Turkey Federation. He has started a business in Salisbury selling locally sourced foods such as sweet potato butter, jalapeno butter and more.

Fowler said the business, Open Season Foods, has helped him become rooted in the local community.

His work with local businesses and farmers helped him feel qualified to pursue another lifelong dream of serving as a representative in the General Assembly, he said.

For Fowler, the desire to serve in government is generational. His father elected to the General Assembly in the 1950s and sponsored the state community college bill with Terry Sanford, who would go on to served as governor and U.S. senator. That’s a reason for Fowler’s focus on education, he said.

If elected, Fowler said he would work for conversation and communication. He wants to make himself available to those throughout the district so that he can adequately represent them in Raleigh.

“I’m not going to go to Raleigh, come back and tell people what they’re supposed to be doing,” he said. “They’re supposed to be telling me what I’m supposed to be doing. They should be showing me what they need and letting me try to go get it as opposed to dictating what they have to do. That’s been happening.”

Fowler said he has met with local municipal leaders. Mayors have spoken to him with grievances about bills that have passed that they oppose or that hurt their towns, he said.

Fowler said he plans to work on issues such as the residual effects of coal ash and GenX water pollution.

He wants to eradicate what he calls “food deserts,” places where access to healthy food is hindered by geography, scheduling and economics.

Fowler said he will target unaffiliated voters in this campaign. These voters, he said, have become disgusted with both major parties, but he said the effort to unaffiliate shows that they care.

“Things are going to change,” he said. “Somebody’s going to change them for you. If you don’t have something to do with the change, you’re probably not going to like it because somebody’s going to change it for you.”