Sworn in: Brundidge native takes office as Covington circuit judge
Published 3:00 am Friday, March 18, 2016
Brundidge native Ben Bowden was sworn in as Circuit Judge of the Alabama 22nd Judicial Circuit Place 2 at a ceremony at the Covington County Courthouse Thursday morning.
Bowden, who had served Covington County as probate judge since November 2008, won his bid for election as circuit judge March 1 with 52 percent of the votes cast.
Although Bowden has no Democratic challenger in the November General Election he would not be elected until after the election. However, sitting judge, Ashley McKathan will retire at the end of March and Gov. Robert Bentley has appointed Bowden to fill the remaining months of McKathan’s term. Bowden’s elected term of office will begin in January 2017.
Bowden, a 1985 graduate of Pike Liberal Arts School and the University of Alabama School of Law, 1989, served in the Air Force for four years before joining the Albritton Law Firm in Andalusia, which was, at that time, the oldest law firm in continuous existence in the state.
Bowden said he doesn’t remember wanting to be anything but a lawyer since middle school.
“I guess that influence came from my cousin, Don Dickert, who is an attorney and municipal judge in Brundidge, and Judge Bill Barr in Troy,” he said. “It was an honor and a tremendous learning experience to work with the Albritton Law Firm.”
Bowden was deployed with the Air Force Reserve to Iraq in the spring and summer of 2008.
He was appointed probate judge of Covington County in 2008 by Gov. Bob Riley.
On March 13, 2012, Bowden won the Republican Primary election for his office. He was elected without opposition in November 2012 “I knew that I wanted to dedicate my life to public service, so I sought the appointment and won,” Bowden said. “I was then elected to that position. I’ve always said the position of probate judge is the best in the courthouse and I have enjoyed my service there and look forward to continuing my service as circuit judge.”
Bowden said running for public office is hard but rewarding work.
“I have met so many wonderful people on the campaign trail that I would never have known,” he said. “I believe my family and I have made a connection with the people of Covington County. The campaign for circuit judge was a struggle but it was also a great opportunity.”
As circuit judge, Bowden said his duties will be different from the primarily administrative and regulatory responsibilities of a probate judge.
“I willingly accept the challenges of managing the courtroom,” he said. “That is where I want to be at this time in my career.”
With election to the circuit court system, Bowden will now step out of the public eye and that will be a welcome change for him.
“I enjoy the courtroom environment and all it involves,” he said. “I look forward to being a judge and handling cases and solving the problems that come before the court. This is where I want to be and what I want to be doing.”
Bowden credits his parents, Lawrence and Sara Bowden of Brundidge, for providing the foundation necessary for him to be where he is.
“My parents have been and are a great source of inspiration for me,” he said. “Not just by what they say but by the way they live their lives. They have taught me how to treat people with caring and compassion. They have shown me how to live my life by example. They are special people.”
Bowden, laughingly, said his campaign committee was made up of his wife, Angie; daughter, Annabeth, who is a junior at Southern Methodist University; and son, Sim, who is junior at Andalusia High School.
“They went with me door-to-door and every step of the way,” he said. “I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Bowden and Wes Allen, Pike County’s probate judge, are close friends. Bowden’s mother often teased Allen that he was the second best probate judge in Alabama.
“The morning after I won the election for circuit judge, my mother called Wes and told him that now, ‘he’ is the best probate judge in Alabama,” Bowden said, laughing.”