Who am I?

Rich was born in Spokane to George and Betty Cowan, a family with a proud history of military and public service. Following service in World War I, Rich's grandfather became a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse. And during the Korean War Rich's father served in the United States Air Force.

As well as earning the rank of Eagle Scout, Rich received his pilot's license while still in high school. A diehard Cougar, he attended Washington State University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, Communication from what is now the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, and a Master's of Science Human Nutrition. Rich worked his way through college as a firefighter/EMT.

Rich is the proud father of two children, both graduates of Lewis and Clark High School. Kristin is a professional ice skater with Disney On Ice, appearing as a principal performer in more than 20 countries. Casey is a CPA with PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Rich began his television career at KHQ-TV with the PM Magazine show, eventually becoming the Community Affairs Director. One of his most memorable assignments was spending a week with Tom Foley, former Speaker of the House.

In 1990, Rich created a business plan, secured investors, and raised capital to form North by Northwest Productions. NxNW currently employs 45 full-time employees in Spokane and Boise. The Spokane-based company has created more than 50 feature films with distribution throughout the world.

Rich has directed several movies, including The Basket, which was shot entirely in Spokane. Among other awards, The Basket received the Movie Guide Award (Christian Oscars) for best family film.

Inland Business Catalyst Magazine featured Rich as one of the "Power 25" business professionals in the region, crediting his company's efforts as holding "powerful potential for our region's further economic growth."

Rich's company not only creates local sustainable jobs and brings millions to our region, it promotes the Eastern Washington landscape and its potential to the world.
While at the helm of NxNW, Rich contributed hundreds of hours of video production services to dozens of non-profit agencies in Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho, including Women Helping Women, Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery, Ronald McDonald House, Gonzaga University's Coaches vs. Cancer, YWCA, and many others.

His work in the community and the media industry has been widely recognized, and he continues to be a featured speaker at area events. A few activities and honors include:

- Community Colleges of Spokane Vocational Advisory Council
- Leadership Spokane Business Trustee Leadership Award
- Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and Northern Idaho Board
- Breckenridge Festival of Film, Best of the Fest Family/Children
- International Family Film Festival, Directors Gold Award
- Movie Guide Award, Best Family Movie of the Year
- Heartland Film Festival, Crystal Heart Award
- Two Emmy Awards, Northwest Chapter
- Eagle Scout. Rotary Speaker. Licensed Private Pilot.

Why am I running?

I love creating jobs! This year we are employing over 1,200 local people producing a network television series about zombies. Who would have thought zombies would help stimulate our economy? Moreover, who would have thought Spokane would emerge from railroad yards to the modern economic epicenter of the Inland Northwest?

From Expo ’74 to the Riverpoint Nursing and Pharmacy programs, our best leaders have prioritized progress over politics. But stalemate in our senate has hindered job-creation, education, and transportation. Our schools are underfunded. I’m for closing tax loopholes, not raising taxes. In the last six years college tuition has doubled. We need to decrease class sizes and increase graduation rates.

The North-South Corridor should be concrete, not conversation. Improvements to SR 904 (Cheney), Medical Lake, and Geiger interchanges are critical. These improvements will create jobs, increase safety and support a sustainable future economy. Our senate has stalled for the last four years and needs to be kicked into gear.

I support equal pay for women to ensure our daughters are paid the same as our sons for the same work. I believe in the freedom of choice and government that supports free enterprise.

My Goals

My number one priority would be to create jobs. As a business owner who actually has done the hard work of building a company and creating jobs in Eastern Washington, I understand what a small business owner needs to deliver sustainable, high-paying jobs in our community. To ensure our region's competitive edge, we need to strengthen the energy, aerospace, healthcare, and agricultural sectors without delay.

Priority number two is creating jobs that will strengthen the economy in Eastern Washington. To do this we need schools equipped to prepare our children and grandchildren for 21st Century jobs. From our great local public schools, to our community and technical colleges, to our world class universities, I will fight to get our schools the resources necessary to train tomorrow’s workers and entrepreneurial innovators.

My third priority is building and strengthening our infrastructure, an important component to vitalizing Eastern Washington's economy. We need to ensure that the bridges, roads, and rails we use to commute and move goods to market are strong, safe, and secure. At the same time we need to be good stewards of our natural infrastructure by protecting open spaces and ensuring genuine accountability from those who jeopardize our clean air and water.

My DFA Values

I am running for office because I have been so blessed in my life. I have a successful company, and my grown children are happy, healthy, and productive members of society. Now it is time for payback to the community that has enhanced my life so greatly. Additionally, a sense of community, integrity, and civility must return to our State Senate. As a local television producer I was honored to spend a week with House Speaker Tom Foley, who represented our district in the United States Congress. He left a deep and lasting impression on me. Speaker Foley worked for what was best for this country and not what was best for the party. Clearly, the time has come to put party agendas aside and strive to do what is best for our state and its fine citizens.

We must invest in Washington’s great natural resources. We can no longer rely exclusively on fossil fuels. By taking advantage of Washington's abundant wind, solar, and hydro energy we will make strides toward severing the reliance on the oil markets.

I absolutely respect everyone’s right to practice his or her own religion. As a community we must continue to have the conversation about equality for all, and protect those that have become victims of bigotry, abuse, and fear.

My Campaign is People Powered!

Aside from doorbelling since August of last year, I have been reaching out to diverse groups across the state. The enthusiasm and excitement about the campaign is overwhelming. I am humbled by the number of citizens eager to knock on doors and make phone calls on my behalf. I am also grateful and inspired by over 40 endorsements. Additionally, I've reached out to college campuses and connected with students to encourage understanding of and involvement in politics, government, and my campaign.

Voice support


About the Endorsement Process

The driving force behind all DFA endorsements is our members. We recognize that all politics is local and that what is considered progressive in Los Angeles may be very different from what's considered progressive in Louisville. For this reason, DFA does not have a litmus test of specific progressive positions for which a candidate must stand. Our endorsement is heavily weighted based on these questions:

• Will the candidate move the progressive movement forward in their community?
• Does the candidate have substantial support from our local members?
• Do the candidate's positions and policies fit into the broader progressive movement?
• Is the campaign people-powered and the candidate working to win?

If you have questions, or want to let us know about a candidate in your neighborhood, please call us at (802) 651-3200 or email us at [email protected] .

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