There’s no one better than a doctor to be in a leadership position during a pandemic, according to Wood County Commissioner Ted Bowlus, who is running for re-election on Nov. 3 as a Republican.
“I do have the background. I have experience as commissioner for the last four years,” said Bowlus, who has been in practice for 30 years, running a Perrysburg podiatry clinic. “And I care a lot about my constituents. I listen to them and act on their concerns.”
If re-elected, one of his main goals is to start the Focus on the Future program, utilizing leaders in the health department, emergency management agency and university, Bowlus said.
“I have a good background in immunology and microbiology, along with my education,” he said. “I feel that can be a distinct benefit.
“We are developing a strategic planning program that is essentially based on the premise that Wood County has unique situations that occur. Not all counties have the same effects of the virus that we have.”
His other goal is to address addiction issues, which have been moved to the back burner because of the coronavirus, Bowlus said.
“The addiction problem has actually increased with the isolation problem we’ve had,” he said.
Looking back at the last four years, Bowlus said he considers the new recycling program an accomplishment.
“We are proud of our recycling program that has 12 areas around the county with 51 bins,” he said. “That has been a very successful program.”
It’s almost been too popular, Bowlus said, with the overflowing areas in Perrysburg Township.
“We’ve been working with Perrysburg Township. There’ve been some problems,” he said, adding that the main issue is people not breaking down boxes.
“It’s a new program and it’s going to take a learning curve to correct some of these problems,” Bowlus said.
The booming economy is another achievement, Bowlus said.
“Our economic development has probably been second to none in Ohio,” he said. ”It reduces the need for future tax increases. It helps funds our schools. It helps fund our county agencies. It decreases unemployment in our county and adjacent counties. It creates a good living wage.”
Bowlus also mentioned the weight enforcement program with the sheriff’s office, that he said is protecting roads and bridges from overweight vehicles.
“We think it’s important to protect our infrastructure with this and it’s been very successful so far,” he said.
The commissioners have done a good job of improving infrastructure, he said.
The county is working at a pace of reconstructing at least four bridges per year.
“Economically that’s what we can afford and physically that’s what we can do at this point.”
Bowlus said 89% of the county bridges in 2019 were in excellent to fair condition.
“The 11% …. are being worked on,” he said. “The roadways are coming along. I’m very pleased with the progress.”
A $17 million jail expansion, which has been put on hold due to the pandemic, may be revisited, Bowlus said, but a renovation is needed.
“It’s something we’re in the process of talking about it. It’s very important that we renovate the intake area. That’s drastically needed,” he said. “We had women in the hallways sleeping on cots.
“I do personally think the jail expansion needs to be done in the future when our finances are stable,” Bowlus said. “It does need to be discussed.”
The three commissioners, who are all Republican, work well together, Bowlus said.
“I don’t feel that it needs to be a political position. We as commissioners do what’s best for our constituents without regard to political affiliation.
“Experience is needed in this position. I think that I have the proper background when you consider — not only the medical background, but also being in an elected position, such as the Eastwood board of education, I was elected twice.”
Bowlus grew up in Pemberville, studied medicine at Western Michigan and the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine in Cleveland, received a master’s degree in neuroscience at University of Toledo Medical College, and has several publications in neuroscience.
Bowlus opened his podiatry office in 1988. He said he is a full-time commissioner, working limited hours at the clinic.
He’s a member and past president of the Wood County Board of Health, and is serving his second term on the Eastwood Board of Education. He was a board member for Behavioral Connections for 10 years and served with the Wood County National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Bowlus has eight children. He is married to Lois Anne.