Cowen wins Brownsville mayoral race

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Brownsville City Commissioner At-Large “A” John Cowen Jr. is the apparent winner of the city’s May 6 mayoral election, finishing the night with 4,961 votes (56.39 percent). (Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald)

Brownsville City Commissioner At-Large “A” John Cowen Jr. is the apparent winner of the city’s May 6 mayoral election, finishing the night with 4,961 votes (56.39%) to District 2 City Commissioner Jessica Tetreau’s 1,965 votes (22.34%), according to an unofficial count by the Cameron County Elections Department with 27 out of 27 city precincts reporting.

The other two candidates in the mayor’s race, Erasmo Castro and Jennifer Stanton, brought in 1,429 (16.24%) and 442 (5.02%) total votes, respectively.

The unofficial early-voting total for Cowen was 3,710 (56.36%) compared to 1,486 votes (22.57%) for Tetreau, who has served on the city commission for 12 years and is closing out her last term. In all, 6,583 eligible voters cast their ballots in early voting.

Brownsville has approximately 100,000 registered voters, according to Cameron County Elections Administrator Remi Garza.

Cowen is a member of the city’s Audit and Oversight Committee, chairman of the Greater Brownsville Incentives Corporation and president of Cowen Group Ltd., with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Finance from the University of Notre Dame.

He was elected to the city commission in 2019.

Cowen ran on a platform of carrying out priorities he was already working on, including restoring public trust in the Brownsville Public Utilities Board after an audit of the failed Tenaska power plant project went public; building out GBIC’s 729-acre industrial park on FM 511; and the implementation of a zoo master plan “to expand and enhance our most prominent tourist attraction, which is at risk of losing its accreditation if we do not move forward with the plan.”

Cowen had also pledged to run BPUB more efficiently and cost-effectively in order to lower utility bills for customers.

Brownsville mayoral candidate John Cowen campaigns on election day Saturday, May 6, 2023, with his supporters. (Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald)

Reached by phone after the polls closed, Cowen said he thinks the election results show that Brownsville values “good, professional leadership.”

“I’m just so blessed to be in this position to help move the city forward,” he said. “We have a lot of work to do, and I’m encouraged that we’re going to have a strong commission that we can get a lot of stuff done with.”

Cowen said that even though his swearing-in won’t happen until summer, he plans to “start trying to get everyone together and making sure that we’re all working as a unified commission.”

He thanked Tetreau for her many years serving the city and acknowledged the large amount of time and effort it takes to serve as an elected official.

“I’d just like to thank her for everything she’s done for our community, and I wish her the best,” Cowen said.

As for Castro and Stanton, “for the most part everyone ran solid campaigns,” he said.

“I think Brownsville wants positive elections and not mudslinging and the circus environments that can happen here, and I think for the most part it was a very positive experience for the community,” Cowen said.

Find the complete, unofficial election results of races across the Rio Grande Valley here.