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5th hopeful joins race for county District 2

A Crystal River lawyer Thursday joined the herd of candidates for theDistrict 2 County Commission seat.

In front of the new courthouse, Steve Bowman, 30, announced his intention to seek the Republican nomination for the commission seat held by Skip Hudson.

In a statement to reporters, Bowman said the county must improve the road system, expand the tax base and find alternative sources of money to pay for government programs. He said the county needs to explore user fees, gas taxes and special tax districts.

"Notoriously, our commission has always waited to the deadline," he said, referring to the negotiations with the state over the county's comprehensive plan and the selection of a new jail site.

"I don't want to be labeled an environmentalist or a developer," he said. "I've agreed sometimes with Hank (Cohen). I've agreed sometimes with Skip (Hudson)." Commissioner Cohen has favored strong development restrictions. Hudson has decried the limits on development imposed by the state.

A lawyer with a private practice, Bowman handles divorce and real estate cases.

In 1988, he campaigned unsuccessfully to be clerk of courts. He is

president of the Central Citrus County Rotary Club and was founding president of the Citrus Springs Elementary PTA.

He recently finished a four-month stint as a teacher at Crystal River High School. His wife, Terry, is a teacher at Citrus Springs Elementary. They live in Crystal River with their son.

In addition to Bowman, four other candidates have announced in the

district, which covers Sugarmill Woods and Homosassa: Gary Bartell, a

Republican who is a former member of the Gulfport City Council; Lou Whitten, a Republican real estate agent; Franklin T. Snow, a Republican who is president of the Citrus League of United Taxpayers, and Glenn Warren, a Democrat who is a former county employee.

Hudson has opened a campaign account for a race against state Sen. Karen Thurman, D-Dunnellon.