COQUILLE — Coquille's mayor is throwing his hat in the ring to become Coos County's next treasurer.
Matt Rowe will host a campaign kickoff at 6 p.m. Thursday at the North Bend Labor Hall.
In addition to having food catered from Black Market Gourmet, Rowe will have a meet-and-greet and question-and-answer session for interested constituents.
“The key reason I'm going to be focusing on running for treasurer is that office is a constitutional office which is not only a checks and balances on the board of commissioners for managing the people's finances, but the treasurer also has a role in developing streams of revenue,” Rowe said. “My top priority would be to find new ways to secure new streams of revenue and cost savings for public safety and that is my first and foremost reason for running.”
As mayor of Coquille since 2013, Rowe has had a prime seat to witness the effects of the lack of jail space and concerns from a lack of public safety resources.
“I've had a firsthand experience seeing the revolving door at the county jail, and it's very disturbing,” Rowe said. “The fact of the matter is we need to find more resources to support public safety not just to keep the people of Coquille safe, but to keep the people of the county safe, because when we have a fellow who is stabbed in the throat in Lakeside a block away from the mayor's home and there are no suspects and a general sense of lawlessness permeating the unincorporated areas, we need to find the resources to keep our good citizens safe.”
While his mayoral experience has spurred some of his interest in the position, Rowe said he's been thinking about running since serving two stints on the Coquille School District budget committee, 2006-2009 and 2013-present, as well as two years on the South Coast Education Service District board of directors from 2011-2013.
It's that experience he believes is needed to fill the position.
“I've always had an interest in the treasury at the county level,” Rowe said. “As you know, I ran unsuccessfully for commissioner in 2014, but when you look at my record and decade-long experience in budgeting and doing more with less, my talents are uniquely suited for the role the treasurer plays in the process. Treasurer (Mary) Barton has led with distinction, and I think whoever is treasurer is going to need to be someone with a record of stretching taxpayer dollars further, a fiscally conservative record and somebody who will fight for the money to keep our people safe.”
Although he will set his sights on the county position, Rowe is still committed to his mayoral duties and hasn't ruled out whether he will seek reelection should he fail in his bid.
“I haven't made any decision on that, because legally I can't seek both offices,” Rowe said. “I focused on campaigning for the treasurer's office while at the same time fulfilling the office of the mayor.”