BOWMAN—Lyn James, President of the Bowman City Commission, is always looking to do what's best for the city of Bowman and its people.
James is serving her four-year term as a President of the Bowman City Commission. Before that she also served for two terms as a commissioner, James said.
James was born and raised in Bowman. She said she moved to Denver, Colo. for a short time before moving back to her hometown.
"It was good for us to go and find out how much home and small and small community meant to us," she said.
James started getting into city government after being contacted by a group of business leaders in 1996 to get "progress thinkers."
"I had been involved in the chamber board and different things like that, so I thought I'd give it a try," she said. "I never dreamt it would be 22 years down the road and I'd still be here but I love it. I'm so passionate for this city."
The North Dakota League of Cities has also been important to James. Through their Municipal Government Academy, James has been able to take around 400 hours of city government education. The courses involve anything from how to run a meeting to budget planning and conflict resolvement.
"Leadership is not for everyone, that's for sure, but it's something that I have found very gratifying and it's opened a lot of doors for me to meet lots of people and I've gotten a terrific education out of it as well," she said.
Darren Limesand has been on the Bowman City Commission for three and half years and has worked with James during that time. He said James is "very easy to work with."
"She is a great collaborator and thinks towards the future on everything the commission does," Limesand said in an email. "With her years of experience she also has the knowledge of what will work and what won't. And she has a strong will to stand up for what she believes in."
James said while some may disagree with her, she believes Bowman has grown into a "forward thinking" community over the past couple decades.
"You'll always have different perspectives and I think you have to respect that and lead in a way that you feel can get the most positive result with the largest number of people," she said. "Our public spaces, like our parks, are in really nice shape. They get used all the time and it just makes your heart happy when you put money into a public space like that and then you see the result of the kids playing and weddings and the barbecues."
Limesand said James is always thinking about the people of Bowman as well.
"Whatever decisions that Lyn makes with the board, she always has the Bowman community in mind," he said. "Whether you agree with her ideas or decisions she makes, no one can ever say she didn't do what she felt was the best for the community."
James said the city has plans for new and expanding businesses, among many other things they are working on.
"I think we've seen a really nice ... insurgence of young professionals here," she said. "We have young dentists here, a young eye doctor. We have young people practicing in our health care facility. They find value in Bowman. The quality of life here is attractive to them and many of them are actually from here. I think that says something too about going away and coming back."
Limesand said one of the biggest accomplishments the city has made recently is its industrial park, which James has helped with extensively.
"I think the industrial park that is currently being developed is one of the things that will benefit the community in the long run," he said. "The commission put in long hours making sure it would be a good fit for the community."
In addition to her work for the city of Bowman, James also runs a floral and coffee shop in town called Lasting Visions. The business has been around since the late 1980s and added a retail side about 15 years ago.
"It's fun to have such a diverse offering," James said. "The flower shop is busy at certain times and it's a fun, happy business to be in for the most part. In a town this size you need other things to help supplement and the coffee bar brings a lot of people in and it offers a good place for gathering."
On the retail side, the shop offers homeware, gifts and more.
James said she enjoys being able to work with her family at the shop.
"On most days at work we have four generations here in (the shop)," she said. "My mom, myself, my daughter works for us, she does all of the buying and merchandising here and then her four-year-old is our little boss. So having four generations is pretty special."
Limesand said he believes James works well with the community.
"Everyone knows she is doing what she feels is best for the community. But she will listen to any complaint and always looks at both sides of any issues," he said.
When it comes to the city of Bowman, she said she is proud of the diverse city that she gets to serve each day. She said she is grateful to the people of Bowman for electing her to the position.
"We have a faith community that's absolutely fantastic. We have a wonderful school system. Our recreation is great, people work very hard to make sure we have good recreation created and natural. Our business district is strong and then we have elected people that are passionate," James said. "That's a pretty strong foundation."