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ELECTION 2020 PRIMARY: With emphasis on education, Lowder running for third term as commissioner

After serving two terms in the past, Jann Lowder of Albemarle is running to seek a third term as a Stanly County commissioner. She filed to run as an At-Large candidate.

Born in Albemarle, Lowder, 75, graduated from Albemarle High School and Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory.

She and her husband Gary operated the interstate trucking company TKG Transport, Inc. for many decades. She retired in 2008 and has three children: Tandy Carpenter, Ginger Efird and Kelly Lowder.

During her time operating TKG Transport, and raising three children, she had “crazy hours” with customers all across the country.

“My phone was subject to ring at anytime,” she said, adding she was available 24/7.

Since she worked long hours, Lowder watched a lot of news programs including “Nightline” and it had an impact on her.

“I really got so involved in what was going on around the world and I became very involved in local politics,” Lowder said. “I worked in the trenches from the ground up.”

Lowder volunteered on local boards including Stanly County Chamber of Commerce, where she served as chairwoman, and Hospice of Stanly County, where she served as chairwoman and vice chairwoman. She also served on Stanly Community College’s Board of Trustees and later was appointed to serve on the N.C. State Board of Community Colleges.

Lowder also became involved with helping the school system. She helped to spearhead an effort to raise money to buy new uniforms for the South Stanly High School band.

In the early 1990s, she was asked by several leaders in the community to run for the N.C. House of Representatives for districts in Stanly, Montgomery and Anson.

She served on the board of county commissioners from 2008 through 2012 and again from 2014 through 2018.

During her time on the board, Lowder was focused on education and making sure Stanly County Schools and Stanly Community College were attractive to prospective businesses looking to relocate to the county.

“One of the first things any potential business moving here is going to look at is our school system,” Lowder said. “Whether or not they locate any employees here, they’re still going to look at our school system because they’re families are important to the management of companies.”

As a fiscal conservative, Lowder said she also emphasized making sure money was properly allocated to the departments throughout the county that needed it the most. She would ask questions to county department heads as they approached the board seeking money during budget workshops.

Lowder was the only female on the five-member commissioner board during her first stint and again during the seven-member board from 2014 to 2018.

“I think I had an influence,” she said.

She said an elected body should do the best it can to reflect the the demographics of the county.

“If we’ve got five commissioners, why shouldn’t we (females) have at least two seats. If we’re seven members, maybe we need three seats,” Lowder said.

Though there had been Democratic female commissioners that served on the board, Lowder said to the best of her knowledge she was one of the first Republican females elected to the board. She was the first Republican woman to serve as vice chairwoman and later chairwoman of the board.

Lowder is running with a focus on helping the school systems in the county. Though she doesn’t know what their specific needs are, she said “we have to build the toolbox and put those things in there that they can reach for to make everything better for the students, for the teachers, for the administration.”

Lowder wants to help work on the budget again. She is an advocate for being as transparent about the budget process as possible so citizens know where their tax dollars are going.

She said she can’t compare Stanly County with any other place in the country.

“There’s nobody like Stanly County people, no matter where you go,” Lowder said. “It’s the best place to be.”

 

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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