Scott Bowen, 28, describes himself as a longtime Clear Lake resident and a lifelong conservative. And, as of May 4, he also can call himself the newest member of the Clear Creek Independent School District Board of Trustees.
Bowen unseated longtime incumbent Ann Hammond for the at-large Position B spot when voters handed him the victory with 1,512 votes to Hammond’s 1,317, according to complete but unofficial returns.
“I think I ran a good campaign and connected with a lot of people,” Bowen said.
And Bowen isn’t alone in recognizing the campaign that brought him to office. Supporters through April and early May took to social media and other outlets to spread the word about Bowen and urge people to vote in the district’s election — no small feat, given League City voters, for instance, would have to vote in the city’s elections at one location and the district’s in another, Bowen said.
“I think he conducted an excellent campaign,” said Geri Bentley, a former League City councilwoman and founder of the Clear Lake Tea Party. “He got out there and worked hard for it. He met people and campaigned. He did a good job.”
But is there more to it than that? Bowen campaigned on conservative principles, and didn’t mince words about how that would influence his position on the district’s board.
“Different things are going to speak to different people,” Bowen said. “But just the fact that I was the new candidate definitely helped. My qualifications played into it.
“But my message was making sure we avoid waste and making sure the priority in the district is on education and keeping money in the classroom and lowering taxes. That was all part of the message that I think does appeal to people.”
Bowen’s election falls against the backdrop of an ongoing debate in the Texas legislature this session over the future of school finance. State leaders have promised, after years of education experts calling for finance reform, to increase school funding while placing a lower cap on how much districts could collect each year without triggering a tax reduction vote — called a roll-back election.
Throughout his campaign, Bowen told residents it would fall to trustees to respond to any legislative changes, and to lower property taxes if the district receives more money from the state than it has been receiving.
“Since trustees are elected by, and answer to the people living in the district, their duty is to ask hard questions, engage in active oversight and ensure that every student is allowed to reach his or her full potential by holding the district accountable to strong standards.”
Bentley, however, argues that attributing Bowen’s election to his self-identifying as a conservative is an overplayed angle.
“I liked what he had to say, and what he campaigned on,” she said. “Hopefully he’ll do a good job. He’s a young man who went through CCISD. It’s kind of a good thing to have someone that young on the board.”
While Bowen’s election stands out, this May cycle did feature a slate of newcomers knocking off incumbents in races across the northern reaches of Galveston County.
Two-term Friendswood Councilman Carl Gustafson, for instance, was ousted from his position by Brent Erenwert, the CEO of a Houston-based produce distributor who previously ran an unsuccessful bid for city council in 2018.
And, in Kemah, Terri Gale snagged the mayoral seat from incumbent Carl Joiner with 53.3 percent of the vote, according to complete but unofficial results.
Bowen, however, cautioned against drawing too much of a lesson from his victory.
“Generally, I think from time to time, it’s a good thing to bring in people who have experience outside of government,” Bowen said. “I think that’s something people desire and this election speaks to that need. It’s a good message.”