James Bowen III of Carlsbad has been going through what could be considered a dress rehearsal as he prepares for January 2023 and his first term on the Eddy County Board of County Commissioners.
He will take Steve McCutcheon’s place representing District 4 which covers central, northern and eastern parts of Eddy County. McCutcheon decided not to seek a second term on the commission.
Bowen had no Republican or Democratic opposition in the June Republican primary or the November general election.
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The past few months Bowen attended meetings and witnessed how election ballots were counted at the Eddy County Clerk’s office.
“Because I ran unopposed, I have not taken that for granted and I’ve done what I can to interject myself and attend the meetings and try to get a feel of what’s going on in the County,” Bowen said.
“ I feel fortunate as to make acquaintances and making friends with everybody I’ll be working alongside and understand and knowing the issues I’ll be stepping into,” he added.
He said disappointment in government decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic and setting an example for his young children were reasons he decided to seek public office.
“I wanted to stand up and do something that my kids to be proud of going forward and hopefully make a difference and a change in our community,” he said.
The 35-year-old Bowen was born and raised in Carlsbad and is the vice president of operations for SB Energy Services. He has been with the company for 13 years.
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Bowen said Eddy County experienced money surpluses from oil and gas tax revenue as the price of West Texas Intermediate Sweet Crude oil (WTI) ranged from $80 a barrel to $122 a barrel for most of 2022, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Eddy County collected $9.9 million in oil and gas tax collections in September and projected $39.5 million in tax collections by the end of the 2023 fiscal year, read data from the Eddy County Finance Department.
“I’m excited to step in and not ride the coattails of the commissioner before me. But continue on with what they have started,” Bowen said.
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In 2023 he believed Eddy County should budget and spend conservatively, and prepare for continued growth.
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at [email protected] or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.