Roger Bowman has a strong interest in politics and American history, but his recent election as chairman of the Catoosa County Republican Party is his first foray into organized politics.
The independent businessman said he was drafted for the job because of his executive experience. He and his wife moved to Catoosa County from Nashville 11 years ago, and they live on the farm where he grew up.
Mr. Bowman recently was interviewed about his new post.
Q: What are your responsibilities?
A: The chairman is the CEO and oversees the activities of the local party. I am speaking as a newbie; my involvement in organized party politics began in February when I attended a precinct convention and elected chairman and a delegate to the county committee meeting. I have attended one county committee meeting.
Q: What are the challenges the Republican Party faces today?
A: The biggest challenge we face is voter participation. It's a national tragedy. So many men and women paid such a price for us to have the right to vote and we don't exercise it. That is a tragedy. Citizens have an obligation to vote. All citizens should be concerned.
Q: Across the country, the Republicans did not fare well during the presidential election. What was the problem?
A: When you lose an election you have to assume the voters have rejected your platform in favor of someone else's. That can happen for one of two reasons: You failed to inform the voters or they failed to comprehend what you said, or there's an overwhelming preference of the voters to select something that's alternative to what you say.
I think, as a party, we have gotten away from our true foundation. I think candidates at all levels are tending toward centrist positions and they don't want to say we are for local, fiscally responsible government, we believe in small government controlled by the people and in an inclusive system.
Q: What is the solution?
A: The thing we want to encourage as a local party is participation in the activities and administration of our county party. I think that's something perhaps that has not been done.
We want to have open meetings and include as many people as want to come. I think that provides an environment for education and networking and stimulating interest.
People are challenged for their time. So the challenge for us is education and information. I hope to do a lot through the media and do something interesting enough that someone might want to read about it.