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Tuesday, Mar 31, 2015

Jay Rowden files for school board seat


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— Jay Rowden put his name in contention for the District 3 school board seat Monday, the same day the current occupant of that seat, Dianne Bonfield, announced she will retire and not seek re-election to a third term.

Rowden, the husband of County Commissioner Diane Rowden, is a retired businessman and served stints as state committeeman. He was chairman of the Hernando County Democratic Executive Committee from 2004-08.

Rowden, 70, said he’s thought about running for a school district seat ever since his wife was on that board in the mid-1980s. He finally decided to give it a go after Bonfield asked him to find someone he thought was qualified to run.

Unable to find anyone who lived in the district or anyone who didn’t have other commitments, Rowden said he decided to pre-qualify himself. Bonfield, 65, is throwing her support behind Rowden.

Bonfield taught for 28 years before becoming a school board member, a post she’s held since 2006.

If elected, Rowden said he wants to create more communication and collaboration between the school board, the county and the city of Brooksville.

Currently, it’s as if all three entities are on separate islands and are reluctant to swim over and explore each other’s needs or how they could work together for the betterment of the community and economy.

For example, Rowden said if the school board develops a robotics curriculum, the county could try to attract industries catering to that field and use, as a selling point, the fact that Hernando County had a labor force educated in that area.

It’s that kind of synergy that is needed and all too often not explored, Rowden said.

“What I would like to see is, when it comes to education and business development, that the school board and the county commission are on the same page,” he said.

When he was in business, Rowden said he served as middleman for a global machinery company and brokered sales for large industrial machines.

Also vying for the District 3 non-partisan school board race is Elizabeth Narverud, a Domino’s Pizza franchise owner who formerly was executive director on the Hernando County Education Foundation.

(352) 544-5290

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