February 1, 2003 - GoSanAngelo.com: Bolivia RPCV Joseph W. Lown to run for mayor of San Angelo

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Bolivia RPCV Joseph W. Lown to run for mayor of San Angelo

Read and comment on this story from GoSanAngelo.com Bolivia RPCV Joseph W. Lown who is running for mayor of San Angelo at:

Lown to run for mayor of San Angelo*

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Lown to run for mayor of San Angelo

By RASHDA KHAN, Staff Writer
February 1, 2003

At 26, Joseph W. - or ''J.W.'' - Lown is looking to become the youngest mayor of San Angelo.

''But don't hold my age against me,'' he said. ''I am very serious about this, and I plan to treat the mayor's position as a full-time job.''

His parents, Alicia and George Lown, are both deceased. ''I feel San Angelo is my family,'' Lown said. ''I have business interests here, I was born and raised here and I would like to represent all of San Angelo.''

Lown straddles two cultures - his mother was Mexican, and his father's family emigrated from Sweden three generations ago. ''I think I bring a unique perspective because of that,'' he said. Lown plans to campaign in both English and Spanish.

He wants to facilitate public involvement in local government and in the community, so that all entities are reflective of San Angelo's demographics, and because he believes ''each person has something to contribute.''

Lown, who owns real estate in San Angelo, said he will scrutinize the use of tax dollars to avoid unnecessary expenditures. He said he believes in smart growth: jobs that increase the standard of living, and industries and projects that use water conscientiously.

After a year at Angelo State University, Lown transferred to and received a bachelor's degree in business from Principia College in Illinois. He was a summer intern with U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith's office in 1998.

He spent 1999-2001 in Bolivia as a Peace Corps volunteer. During this time, Lown helped develop micro-industries and small businesses, and taught entrepreneurship skills to the youth and women.

Lown has been involved in a variety of community-service projects during the years.

He facilitated the donation of hearing aid and medical services for an 8-year-old Bolivian child through the West Texas Rehabilitation Center in San Angelo.

He set up the Worldwize School Pen Pal project with the fourth-grade class at Santa Rita Elementary, his alma mater.

He also organized a group of Bolivian orphans into an International Children's Theater group and brought them to tour the United States. Lown had to write grants, raise funds and arrange for visas and tickets for the group's tour.

''So I know how to navigate bureaucracy,'' he said, adding that his experience also taught him to work toward bringing people together and working toward positive changes.

Lown has received numerous commendations for public service. He received senatorial and congressional letters for outstanding public service in 2002; a commendation from Patch Adams M.D. for the International Theater Group; and an Outstanding Service Citation from SOS Children's Village, a global nonprofit, in Bolivia.

''Public service opened my world,'' he said, adding that he appreciates the importance of the local nonprofit sector. If elected mayor, Lown said he will participate in monthly community projects throughout the city in response to President Bush's call for individuals to devote 4,000 service hours within their own communities.

Lown said he has been working around-the-clock for the last two months to make his political debut. ''I will be campaigning relentlessly to build name recognition and earn the people's trust,'' he said.

He plans to make an official announcement closer to the Feb. 19-March 17 filing period, but he hasn't set a date yet. By that time, his campaign staff should have a Web site, with an online forum to gather suggestions from the public.

So far, the only other person to make a bid for mayor is Councilman Jim Hughes.

''If people around town would like to meet me, all they have to do is call me,'' Lown said. ''I am open to visiting.''

Contact Rashda Khan at rkhan@gosanangelo.com or 659-8262.

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