Serving his country in Navy led him to politics

His friends in high school never would have imagined that Josiah Rowell would end up enlisting in the U.S.Navy, let alone get involved in politics.

But that’s just exactly what’s happened.

Rowell, a former sailor from the USS John C. Stennis and 2003 Central Kitsap High School graduate, has entered the race for the Washington State House of Representatives 35th District seat.

Rowell, 29, announced his candidacy recently and has been working with state Republican Party officials, hopping to become the party’s nominee in August 2014.

The seat is currently held by Rep. Kathy Haigh, D-Shelton, who is serving her 15th year in Olympia. There will be a primary in August and a general election in November 2014.

The 35th District includes all of Mason County, and a large portion of Kitsap County (from Chico Way up Newberry Hill through parts of east Bremerton,) as well as part of Thurston County.

“I am excited to serve the citizens of 35th Legislative District and Washington State in the same way that I have served my country,” Rowell said.  “We need new, energized leadership in Olympia.”

Rowell served four years in on active duty in the Navy, entering the service about nine months after graduating from high school.

He served on a guided missile cruiser in Mississippi and then was transferred to the Stennis. He served in 2007 in the Arabian Gulf in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom and was a logistics specialist.

After leaving active duty, he entered the Navy Reserves where he has served five years, and spent six months in Afghanistan, returning home last April.

Between times, he worked for a private company as a civilian logistics contractor for the Army at Ft. Lewis, and as a logistics expert on the Elwha River Restoration project near Port Angeles.

In high school, Rowell said he was “more of an independent” kind of guy.

“I was a bit of a rebel,” he said. “I skateboarded and snowboarded. I think people were surprised when I enlisted in the Navy, and I think they’re surprised that I’ve entered politics.”

But he said, his interest is genuine and he sees things that need to be improved in the state.

He will be running on a platform focusing on improving the quality of life including education, jobs and safe communities.

“Washington’s economy is still 25,000 jobs below where it was in 2008,” he said. “We need proactive leaders in Olympia who know how and are willing to work together in order to move Washington forward.”

He is currently a student at the University of Washington Milgard School of Business and lives in Union with his wife, Alicia. They have been married nine years.

He’s expecting opposition in the primary and is currently door-belling and meeting with Republican Party officials.

He has received several endorsements including that of current State House members Drew MacEwen (R-35th, assistant Republican whip), Richard Debolt (R-20th, former House Republican leader), and Cathy Dahlquist (R-31st, ranking Republican on education).


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