BOWIE – Another candidate for Bowie City Council throws his hat into the ring. James Scott Hessberger, Jr. is running for District 3. “I’ve always been interested in running for a position but previously with my military career, there wasn’t the opportunity,” Hessberger said. “Last year, I was medically retired so now I have that […]
BOWIE – Another candidate for Bowie City Council throws his hat into the ring. James Scott Hessberger, Jr. is running for District 3.
“I’ve always been interested in running for a position but previously with my military career, there wasn’t the opportunity,” Hessberger said. “Last year, I was medically retired so now I have that opportunity. I’m also very much interested into serving the community and the country and this is one way of doing it.”
Hessberger has big plans for the city of Bowie and hopes to move it forward if elected.
“I would also like to see Bowie go a little bit further than where they are,” he said. “To me, it seems Bowie has become stagnant. We’ve lost businesses and so I’d like to be involved in a position where I can help move Bowie along.”
Hessberger, age 47, describes his platform as that of a citizen who wants to re-establish Bowie. Hessberger discussed a few of his goals he’d like to achieve if elected.
“I think the number one objective is to try to work with the county to get Bowie’s own ability to do the zoning and planning. It would be working with developers and businesses to try and convince them to come in and establish within Bowie,” he said. “I think another thing that is important is a good mass transit, especially if you’re going to try to bring in millennials and seniors. They need a way to be able to get around.”
Hessberger wants the public to vote for him because he is a “proven leader” with experience in the military and the Department of Army for the Pentagon, where he works as a functional manager.
“It is my responsibility to match up resources with the mission, he said. “I will identify where shortfalls are and come up with mitigating strategies to identify risks. I believe that I can do that for Bowie,” he said.
Experience is what Hessberger believes gives him an edge as a candidate.
“I’ve served in the community. I have a lot of experience and understanding,” Hessberger said. “I don’t view myself as a politician, but more as just a civil servant that wants to get elected for a job instead of selected for a job.”
Hessberger said he’s not like the typical politician who tells people only what they want to hear. He claims that he is different.
“It’s my goal to reach out to the community and not to tell them what they want to hear, but to hear what they want to tell me,” he said.
According to Hessberger, transparency is “critical for government.” He compares it to making sausage.
“I know a lot of people say they don’t want to see the sausage being made. They just want to see the sausage but I don’t believe that’s true,” Hessberger said. “I think that people need to be able to see the sausage being made. While I think Bowie is transparent compared to a lot of other government, I don’t necessarily feel that it’s as transparent as it could be.”
Hessberger said he attends most of the council meetings either in person or online and has concerns about what he sees.
“I always find it very interesting that they’ll propose something that there’s very little debate on,” he said. “That tells me that some discussion is already going on in the background and it’s not necessarily giving the citizens the opportunity to see where everybody stands and to have an opinion on it.”
If elected, Hessberger plans to improve the transparency of Bowie City Council by ensuring that the public has more input during council meetings.
“I know they have the time where people can come in and you can sign up and request time to speak,” Hessberger said. “But I think that anytime there is a debate, they need to make it obvious that ‘Hey, we’re going to set aside four minutes for someone from the public that wants to talk about this. They have a few minutes to come up and talk about it.’ If nobody wants to take that time, that’s okay. We move on. But at least they have that opportunity.”
Hessberger and his family moved from New England to Bowie in 2007. He and his wife have three adult children and one granddaughter.
If the residents of Bowie elect Hessberger for the District 3 seat, he would like to make a few changes in the city.
“The main change is to try to establish the millennial environment, the senior environment, the family environment,” he said. “As far as other changes, I believe it’s reaching out to the community to see what other changes they would like to see. I want to find out where they would like to go.”