Brandon Rowley was once a staple running Cardiff’s daunting hills.
“Those workouts were famous,’’ Rowley said.
Rowley tackles another steep climb with his long shot bid for the Carlsbad City Council. He’s among seven candidates for two seats, but the most compelling number is Rowley’s age: 23.
“One of the reasons I’m running is because there are very few young people in political office,’’ Rowley said. “And the response I’ve been getting since I’ve entered has been awesome.’’
Rowley wasn’t awesome, but a decent cross country and track runner for San Dieguito Academy. The training under legendary coach Gordy Haskett included ascending Cardiff’s streets, which seem to have but one direction — straight up.
Similar to Rowley’s political quest.
“I hope he makes it,’’ Haskett said. “I’m confident in him and what he stands for.’’
Hey he conquered those hills, right?
Undaunted then and now, Rowley puts his head down and advances.
His platform, which embraces the environment, was molded at meets in the county’s wide expanses.
“Those open spaces we used to run in cross country motivated me,’’ he said. “Not only did I stay in shape but it gave me an appreciation for conservation.’’
Rowley’s course after SDA took him to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he earned a degree in science and biological studies. He’s aiming to enter UC San Diego’s graduate program while he works at the San Diego Zoo.
His employer might be world famous, but as a politician, Rowley isn’t quite there yet.
That’s OK and part of his charm.
“One of my selling points is you hear politicians say the kids are the future when they are deciding things,’’ Rowley said. “But there are few young adults in elected office. That has kind of struck a chord with people and not just the younger voters.’’
Rowley stuck his finger into the political winds during Carlsbad’s contested Measure A. The February tussle between those wanting to develop parts of Agua Hedionda Lagoon and those opposed prompted fireworks.
“You got the idea of what the people of Carlsbad wanted and it was open space,’’ Rowley said. “I think that can be a part of the future with eco-tourism that spurs tourists to visit those spaces and spend money in our local economy. People love our famous beaches. I think preserving open space is really important, too.
“I have a science and conservation background where most other candidates have business and law degrees. Sometimes there is a disconnect when it comes to science and politics.’’
Politics is retail so Rowley, who has lived in Carlsbad for 15 years, will knock on doors, shake hands and kiss a baby or two. His strategy is also to lean heavily on a social media campaign.
Rowley was the final candidate to throw his hat into the ring. He did so with his hands in his pockets. The political rookie had yet to raise the $1,100 to have his statement printed on the sample ballot.
But good ideas aren’t restricted to those with substantial funds. Measure A proved that Carlsbad voters aren’t swayed by expensive campaigns and slick flyers.
So a political career takes flight, with Rowley scrambling for green to fuel his green-tinged outlook. If interested, check out brandonrowley.com.
Maybe ask Rowley to go for a run. He’ll likely invite his sister Kendra, brother Aaron, and father, Jeff.
Just be careful if they steer you toward Cardiff’s hills. Then again, if you admire a challenge, go for it.
Brandon Rowley is.
Contact Jay Paris at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at jparis_sports.
Sportswriter Jay Paris has written his “Sports Talk” column since joining the Coast News in 2013.
Paris, a Cardiff resident, is a longtime Southern California writer, getting his start with the Orange County Register before coming to San Diego in 1992 to cover the Chargers.
He had the Chargers beat for more than two decades with Oceanside Blade-Citizen, the North County Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, before being named a sports columnist with the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Paris has won numerous awards voted on by his peers in the Pro Football Writers of America. He has also been a staple on countless media platforms, everything from the KPBS to MLB Network and various radio outlets.
Paris is also the author of three books, with his latest one being, “Shohei Ohtani: The Amazing Story Of Baseball’s Two-Way Japanese Superstar.” He has also written “Game Of My Life Chargers” and “Game Of My Life Rams.”
He currently covers the NFL in Los Angeles for Forbes. com and is a contributor to USA Today Sports Weekly. Follow Jay on Twitter @jparis_sports