Dawn Rowe's first experience with desert was driving to Las Vegas for a Marine Corps Ball. Alan, her late husband, needed something for his uniform and decided they would drive the back way to Vegas, passing the Marine Base in 29Palms where he would pick it up at the PX. Driving up the Morongo grade and then down into the valley, Dawn remembers her first thought was "Who lives out here?” And now she does – falling in love with a community where she's become a very involved and active citizen, all the way to her current position as San Bernardino Third District Supervisor.
Prior to coming to the desert, Alan’s military career found them spending a lot of time in the San Diego area, then Virginia and on to 29 Palms. After landing in Yucca Valley, Alan, was killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004 - their children were five and three.
When Dawn moved to Yucca Valley in 2003, there was no Home Depot, Starbucks or Applebee’s. She and her husband decided to live on the east end of Yucca Valley, giving Dawn, then a young mother with two small children, access to more people and places.
Dawn's community developed through volunteering in the schools, her church family and interacting with military wives. One of the reasons Dawn decided to stay in the hi-desert after the loss of her husband was her connection to this community and proximity to the base. Dawn says she and her children transitioned to civilian life in a place she calls, ‘peaceful and beautiful’.
Dawn talks about getting through the loss of her husband with the assistance of the Marine Corps. While the Corps itself assisted with the logistics of her new life, she never imagined her own experience as a volunteer shepherding young military wives through losses would apply to her.
Dawn enjoys the connections that she calls ‘small town wonderful’ – in a place that provides opportunities to not only have social connections with your neighbors, but to sometimes even work with them, ultimately becoming people you can lean on in times of crisis.
Raised in a volunteer-oriented family, Dawn gravitated to public service very naturally. An experience in land development spurred Dawn's interest in public service, leading her to commit to making San Bernardino County a business-friendly environment. Having built a new home with her family, she decided she’d enjoyed the process so much, that she would purchase another piece of property, subdivide it and build two more homes. Dawn experienced a number of issues in the subdivide process and it was that frustration that spurred her to go into the Town offices and ask some questions and gain some clarity around the bureaucracy she was experiencing. She introduced herself to, then Mayor of Yucca Valley, Chad Mayes, who suggested she become the Planning Commissioner for Yucca Valley, where learned about land use. This role eventually lead her to a seat on the Town Council and eventually Mayor of Yucca Valley. In the meantime, she’d also obtained her substitute teaching credential and while doing so also worked part-time job with then Assemblymen Paul Cook.
In this episode, we also talk about a law suit filed against the SB BOS challenging the process of Dawn's appointment and the large territory of nearly half a million people that she covers as 3rd District Supervisor. We also dig into a few local issues like affordable housing, looming Airbnb regulations, limited rural area law enforcement and code enforcement issues.
If you live in the Third District and have issues or questions, reach out to Dawn and her office here.