Incumbent candidate for Public Service Commissioner Place 1, Jeremy Oden faced one major challenge in the June 5 primary; his opponent Jim Bonner.
Bonner gained a lot of media attention after being censured by the Alabama Republican Party for questionable social media posts, and the fact that he shares a name with former Former Congressman Jo Bonner (even though they’re not related).
Oden ended up narrowly winning in the primary with 50.34 percent of the vote to Bonner’s 49.66 percent. Now that the primaries are over, Oden will face political newcomer, Democrat Cara McClure in the November 6 general election for the PSC seat.
With that in mind, here are the five things you need to know about Jeremy Oden:
1. He was a member of the Alabama House of Representatives for over a decade.
Oden was first elected to serve in the Alabama House in 1998, representing District 11. He served there until 2012 when he resigned in order to take the PSC Place 1 seat. While serving in the Alabama House, Oden was a member of the Energy Council, giving him first-hand experience in dealing with the energy sector in the state.
“In a house seat you have to always look at the local aspect of what you are doing — how it effects the ones you represent,” Oden told Yellowhammer News
. “In the PSC you have to look at the emphasis on the local area, but also you have to consider the statewide implication. Sometimes that is not as cut and dry as it is in the legislature. This is a huge state with a lot of difference in opinions and trying to blend those into an overall decision is difficult.
2. He was appointed to the PSC position by former Gov. Robert Bentley.
Oden, the incumbent in the PSC race, was appointed in 2012 by then-Gov. Robert Bentley
to fill the vacant Place 1 on the commission. The spot became vacant after Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh
was elected to serve as President of the PSC.
In 2014, Oden won the Republican nomination in the primary election running on a campaign focused on battling former-President Barack Obama
and his environmental initiatives. He faced no major party challenge in the November 4
general election and won a four-year term to the seat . He has served in the place since
3. He is an ordained minister.
Oden earned his a Bachelor’s degree from Asbury University
, a Christian liberal arts university located in Kentucky. He attended two years of post-graduate seminary studies at the same university and was ordained as a minister serving as a children’s minister, youth minister, church director, and Christian education director throughout his political career.
4. His background is in business and finance.
Before he was appointed to the PSC Oden worked as a Branch Manager and Vice President for Eva Bank in Cullman, Ala.. He also owened and pperated several small businesses including O and O Construction Incorporated, O and O Construction and Lumber and Oden Farms.
5. He’s represented the state in several committees.
As a PSC commissioner, Oden represents the State of Alabama on various committees including the Eastern Interconnection States’ Planning Council (EISPC), the Nuclear Waste Strategy Coalition (NWSC), and the Electricity Committee of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) among others.