Mayor David Bowers talks about a potential run for congress in the 9th district
ROANOKE (WSLS10) – Roanoke city's long time mayor David Bowers announced just months ago he would not seek another term leading the Star City.
But, we haven't heard the last from him.
Bowers is thinking about a bigger spot in politics - a possible run for Congress. A seat that Congressman Morgan Griffith currently holds.
He began a listening tour to hear from local people about their concerns in the 9th district this week.
"My thoughts, for most of my life have been to be the Mayor. That was my high school dream and it came true. I've now been Mayor for 16 years," Bowers said.
In that time, a lot has changed, but his run has had it's up's and downs.
"You know I've had a good run as Mayor. As I told somebody recently, I've had 16 good years and one bad week," Bowers said.
The one bad week gained national attention over a comment about Syrian refugees that Bowers later apologized for and called a misunderstanding.
He's now looking to the future and that could include a run for a seat in congress representing the 9th district. Bowers began a listening tour this week speaking to locals about their needs. He says he wants to be open about who he is and where he is coming from.
"I want people to know up front that I don't live in the district. It's not required by law but you have to have a connection," Bowers said.
A connection he says he finds in the mountains. Although he admits it is an uphill battle for the left to be elected in that area, Mayor Bowers says he considers himself a conservative democrat - with similar values as those he could potentially represent in the 9th district.
He uses the term "courthouse democrat" as opposed to "white house democrat" to describe his views.
"I came up learning from sheriff's, council members and local people. So my focus is on the economic development of the city and would be on the economic development of Southwest Virginia," Bowers said.
He says his time serving as mayor, a position that focused on economic development would be well served in that area.
"If I were to run for congressman, I would be more like a Rick Boucher. He was good for 28 years at bringing jobs to the 9th district...when it comes down to it, what I did hear this past week is the concern from the people in the Southwest for the economy," Bowers said.
He says his role as mayor focused on helping Roanoke to economically thrive, a focus he wants to bring to the southwest.
"That is really what needs to be addressed. That's what I've done," Bowers said.
He's using the listening tours for feedback to help make the decision. So far, another democrat has yet to come forward.
When asked what his deciding factor in making the decision to run, he answered in one word. "Prayer."
2016 could have Bowers back on the campaign trail.
"The clock is ticking and I've either got to quickly make a decision to fish or cut bait," Bowers said.
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