Who am I?

Spokane business owner Rich Cowan pioneered the acclaimed film and video production company North by Northwest Productions. As its CEO and President, Rich has worked with his partners to create sustainable jobs while bringing in millions of dollars spent on location in Eastern Washington. Richs firm has created more than 45 feature films distributed throughout the world. Rich himself has directed several movies, including The Basket, an award-winning family film, shot in Spokane and Whitman Counties. Rich and his company have received regional and national recognition for their success, putting Spokane and Eastern Washington on the map as an attractive destination for film and production work.
Rich was born in Spokane to George and Betty Cowan. His family has a history of military and public service. Richs grandfather, Martin Knutson, served during World War I. He returned to become a public school teacher in a one room schoolhouse. Richs father, George, served in the Air Force during the Korean War. Growing up, Rich had dreams of flying, earning his pilots license in high school. Rich also made time to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout before heading off to college. A die-hard Cougar, he attended Washington State University where he also served for six years as a firefighter/EMT. Rich received his undergraduate degree from what is now the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication (cum laude) and a Masters of Science degree in Human Nutrition, both from WSU.
Rich began his television career at KHQ-TV with the PM Magazine show. One of his assignments was spending a week with the legendary Congressman Tom Foley, documenting his work in the District and Washington DC, before being named Speaker of the House. Rich eventually became the stations Community Affairs Director.

In 1990, Rich created a business plan, secured investors and raised capital to form North by Northwest Productions, which currently employs 40 full-time workers in Spokane and Boise. NxNW has 45 feature length films in its repertoire. The Basket, a film about ethnic intolerance set against the backdrop of World War I and the birth of the sport of basketball, was directed by Cowan. The widely seen film was awarded the Movie Guide Award for best family film (known as the Christian Oscars), beating out four Disney films. It also won the Crystal Heart award at the Heartland Film Festival.

Now entering its third decade of business, North by Northwest has since expanded to five other Divisions, which produce TV commercials, industrial videos, documentaries and websites. Besides the immediate financial impact at the time of filming, North by Northwest promotes positive images of Eastern Washington throughout the US and the world through the companys domestic and foreign film Distribution Division. Inland Business Catalyst Magazine featured Cowan as one of the Power 25 business professionals in the region, and credited his companys efforts as holding powerful potential for our regions further economic growth.

Why am I running?

Our founding fathers envisioned a Congress where citizens, steeped in local values and rooted in real life experience, served with focus and commitment. Today, too many of the people we send to Washington are career politicians more interested in playing politics than actually fixing what is wrong. The result is an economy mired in a sluggish recovery, families suffering to make ends meet and cuts to education, Medicare and veterans benefits while Wall Street rewards its own failure with our money.
I am running for Congress because I believe the only way we can get our country back on track is to stop sending career politicians to DC. We need to start sending independent-minded leaders who have created jobs at home and are ready to help create conditions which will allow others create jobs, too.
The US House of Representatives is broken and our current representative is part of the dysfunctional congressional leadership taking America in the wrong direction. We can do better. Way better.
For the past 22 years Ive worked hard growing a business and bringing good jobs to our area. I will use that same passion, dedication, excitement and enthusiasm to Congress, serving the people of Eastern Washingtonnot the lobbyists and political bosses in DC. This is not about playing political games. Its about caring for people and doing what is right. Its about growing our economy and providing quality work for all of us.
Im not a professional politician. After college at WSU I returned home to Spokane to build a business and raise a family. With a lot of hard work, a commitment to the community I love, and appreciation for the enviable quality of life we all enjoy, I have gained the expertise needed and passion required to be an effective, independent-minded member of Congress.

My Goals

My first priority when elected to office would be job creation. 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. Immediately, we need to strengthen the energy, aerospace, healthcare, and agricultural sectors to be competitive. My next priority would be Healthcare Reform, unlike our current member of Congress who voted for the Ryan plan to end Medicare as we know it slashing or ending benefits for millions of Americans I will stand by Medicare, strengthen Social Security and keep our promises to Eastern Washington seniors.

My DFA Values

This legacy campaign is missing this information

My Campaign is People Powered!

We are already engaging with Young Democrats across the District, two interns for our campaign are already on board from University of Idaho and Eastern Washington University. We also have other major colleges such as Washington State University and Gonzaga that are helping to contribute to the campaign.
The Candidate has extensive history in many of the nine counties in the District from his business activities making movies and commercials in Eastern Washington. He has already received strong support politically and financially from every corner of the District.

Voice support


  • Amy Biviano, WA
  • Mary Wissink, WA
  • Justin Galloway, WA
  • Donald Orlich, WA
  • Susan Windham, WA
  • Andrew Brewer, WA
  • Max Brady-hoover, WA
  • Paul Dillon, WA
  • Sharon Smith, WA
  • Joe Reilly, WA
...and 27 more.

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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