Get to know: Sen. Sean Bowie

Sean Bowie moved to Chandler, Arizona with his family in 1994. In 2016, Bowie was elected to the Arizona State Senate in Legislative District 18.

Bowie grew up going to Arizona public schools before attending Arizona State University where he received degrees in Political Science and History. In 2013, Bowie received his Master’s in Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania.

Since graduating, Bowie has worked in the public policy arena at all levels of the government and alongside stakeholders and elected officials on a range of projects. He also worked as a management consultant, working with Fortune 500 companies across the world.

In addition to serving in the state senate, Bowie is a Professor of Practice in the School of Public Affairs at ASU.

According to his campaign website, Bowie’s number one focus is education funding and strengthening schools.

Question: Why did you initially want to run for the Arizona Senate?

Answer: I grew up in my district and running for office isn’t something I thought a lot of growing up…I’m more of an introvert [and] I’m more of a policy person. I enjoy working on policy but the idea of actually running for office wasn’t something I really thought about.

Over time I became frustrated with our legislature and frustrated that they weren’t focusing on the issues that were important to me — K-12 education and higher education. So, I thought with my background, my skill set and my experience I could be a good advocate for my district, the district I grew up in. [That] is the reason why I decided to run for the Senate several years ago.

Q: You studied political science and public policy, what drew you to that field and got you interested in policy?

A: I really enjoy the policy-making process and I [felt] I could be a good advocate for policies that were important to me such as education and health care and infrastructure. I went to grad school and got my master’s in public policy so I could be better trained and better equipped to advocate for the policies that were important to me.

I always enjoyed that process and running for office was an opportunity to get to work on policy and to represent the district I grew up in. It is always something I’ve enjoyed and something I was interested in and I decided that I wanted to run for the legislature to use those skills to advocate for the policies that were important to me and my district.

Q: How do you think being a management consultant for Fortune 500 companies has helped you with being a senator?

A: I think having that private sector experience is so important. Working with clients and understanding their needs and working with some of the largest companies we have is really helpful in getting that perspective and getting that experience. Now when I meet with business owners and businesses here in Arizona, I have that background and I have that experience and it adds to the set of skills I bring.

Q: What was your favorite legislation to work on this session?

A: I had a bill signed into law this spring, something that is rare for a member of the minority party.

Senate Bill 1468 dealt with mental health for young people…and suicide prevention training in our schools. This is an issue that is so important to me and to my district. This is an issue we’ve struggled with for a number of years now.

Working with some parents, constituents, and my legislative colleagues, we were able to pass a bill. [It] requires various trainings in suicide prevention for all school personnel in grades six through 12 beginning in the fall of 2020. This was a big piece of legislation that we fought several months for. I was very happy to have the governor sign that.

Q: What are your biggest priorities for next session?

A: To continue to work with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle and pass good public policy. [To] create a budget to fund the areas that are close to me in my district that focuses on K-12 education, higher education, workforce development and infrastructure. To continue the work that I’ve been doing for the past three sessions, which is working with members of both sides of the aisle on good legislation that helps my district and helps my constituents.

Q: What do you plan on doing now that the session is over?

A: They say it is a part-time job, but it really is a full-time job. I’m already looking at legislation for next year. I also have a second job. I teach at ASU at the school for public affairs. I have courses that I’m teaching this summer and this fall. I’ll also be traveling a bit, trying to enjoy some brief downtime before the next session. Like I said, I’m still looking ahead at new legislation and passing new bills into law.

Q: What is a fun fact that most people do not know about you?

A: I’m a pretty big nerd for Hamilton the musical. I’ve seen it twice in New York.

When I was an undergraduate student at ASU majoring in history, I wrote my thesis on Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson and how the party system started in the U.S. I find [that] era to be fascinating. Much of what I wrote my paper about is in the musical. Getting to see it twice in New York with the original cast was pretty cool.

My knowledge of early American history and our founding fathers is something that most people wouldn’t know about me.

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

A: I love my job. I love representing my people in District 18 and I plan on continuing to work hard for them and pass bills that will benefit all my constituents.

You can follow Sen. Bowie on Twitter and Facebook for more information.  

Emily Richardson

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