Jim Bowen running for Fairfield RTM District 9
FAIRFIELD, CT – It’s election season in Fairfield, and Patch is here to help you get to know the local election candidates in 2021 before voters go to the polls on November 2.
Responses to the questionnaire appear as submitted by applicants.
Unaffiliated candidate Jim Bowen, 52, is running for RTM District 9 in Fairfield.
Occupation: Retired Air Force Colonel
Family: My much better half Heidi is a retired Air Force colonel and I have three daughters. Elizabeth, my oldest, is a DNA analyst in a lab outside of Washington DC Lauren, my second daughter, is completing her masters in education and teaching in college in Virginia. Kate, my youngest, is a proud 5th year student Sherman Shark!
To live: Nothing
Family in government: Nothing
The biggest problem in town is ______, and I plan to do this about it:
The continued growth of the budget and taxes is a critical issue for our city that must be addressed. Voters in District 9 have seen their tax bills increase on average by about 11% this year. This excessive fiscal growth is unsustainable; we must do better! It is difficult for many of our citizens to stay here in Fairfield and especially for our seniors. The RTM is the municipal body responsible for determining the annual appropriations for the following financial year. To stop continued budget growth and associated tax increases, we need to bring more rigorous and aggressive oversight to the RTM budget process. I will work tirelessly to improve the RTM budget process and assure voters a thorough and detailed review of every dollar in the budget to monitor growth.
Critical differences between me and my opponents:
There are five things that make me unique among the nine RTM candidates in District 9.
First, I have extensive leadership experience. I am a 28 year old Air Force veteran and retired as a full colonel. I am a decorated combat veteran with multiple deployments, and I am a proven senior leader of character and integrity.
Second, I am the only unaffiliated candidate and I am fully self-funded. I will not report to the party leadership; I will only work for constituents in District 9. As an unaffiliated member of the RTM, I can ask the tough questions and conduct open discussions essential to building trust between government and community. Discussions essential to transparency that will not take place without an independent voice.
Third, I have extensive budgetary experience. As a commander for seven years, I have built, defended and executed eight budgets totaling millions of dollars in my career. Not once have we exceeded our budget. Additionally, I was an Air Force liaison to Congress for five years, working multi-billion dollar Air Force budgets directly with Congress. I know how to manage budgets, find waste and control growth.
Fourth, I have a solid background in education. I have spent seven years of my career teaching, including three years teaching at the University of Notre Dame. I know what it takes to re-energize a great education. I have the knowledge to ensure that every RTM-approved dollar in the complex education budget is spent to provide the best possible education for our children.
Finally, and I am retired; it will be my full time job. I am available during regular business hours to serve you and work with the city to get you the answers you deserve. I will also be available on a daily basis to work with city officials to find solutions to the many problems we face and to build a stronger neighborhood and city.
I rose to the rank of full colonel during my military career; a rank reached by less than 1% of the military. As a colonel, I was the top echelon of military command and leadership. I was selected by competition to order four different units during my career. I have served at all levels of the military, including leading global strategic engagements and defense operations. I have served at the highest levels of the Pentagon in several senior executives. I have spent 10 years of my career flying primarily in F-15E fighter jets. I have served in several combat operations and led thousands of airmen. My leadership and decision-making skills have been tested over and over again under the most demanding and ruthless circumstances. I am a tested and proven servant leader who knows how to build and lead high performing teams, achieve consensus and solve difficult problems. I have the unique skills, education and experience to be a great RTM representative for constituents in District 9.
In addition to controlling fiscal and fiscal growth, we must achieve a transparent and responsive government. Without this, there is no trust with the citizens; and that trust is the foundation on which everything is built. To get there, we need elected officials with character and integrity.
We must continue to work to strengthen our public schools. My youngest is a Sherman Shark and my middle daughter teaches in college; schools are essential to the community. We need to make sure that every dollar allocated in the budget is spent on providing the best possible education for our children.
We need to work closely with the local police to keep our streets safe. District 9 is a heavily pedestrianized area and that is part of what makes it such a tight-knit community and a special place to live. Keeping the streets safe is a must to preserve this sense of community.
We must continue to work on tax breaks for seniors, control and preservation of beach erosion and flood mitigation issues throughout the district.
What would you want voters to know about you?
My family and I love it here. We have lived all over the world and could have moved anywhere in the country after I retired, and we chose Fairfield. But there are things we can improve to make our city better. I chose to run as an unaffiliated candidate because I firmly believe that we need an independent voice, unhampered by party politics, to speak on our behalf. Finally, the constituents of District 9 saw me in the district every day engage with them and discuss their hopes and concerns. If elected, I will put that same tireless work ethic to work to directly represent the voters and support the district and city in the RTM. Together, we can make a difference and build a stronger Fairfield!