[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/27/art.electionbus1.cnn.jpg caption="Monahans’ mayor is looking to short-circuit the boom-and-bust cycle "]
ABOARD THE ELECTION EXPRESS, MONAHANS, Texas (CNN) – Life is good for Mayor David Cutbirth. The price of oil – the lifeblood of his West Texas city, population 7,000 - is skyrocketing.
The city of Monahans’ economy is booming now, but Cutbirth said he is worried. He has also lived through a bust, and would prefer the cost of oil to come down a little bit more. It is currently priced at over $90 a barrel. Just a few weeks ago, it reached $100.
“A growing concern out here is that energy costs would get too high, and we believe … those types of numbers will tip the economy into a recession,” he said this week during a stop by the CNN Election Express in this city. “So that has been our fear out here.”
Cutbirth said he is not sure what Congress and the White House can do to keep the price of oil within a profitable but reasonable range. But he added that Washington lawmakers need to put an emphasis on developing alternative energy sources.
“Congress and the president have started late on this thing,” Cutbirth said. “But that is what we need to do. We need to diversify the economy in terms of energy, and get away from oil.”
At some point, Cutbirth said he realizes the oil beds beneath his feet will run dry. He is working now to ensure his city is not overly-dependent on oil - which could make for hard times again in the future.
Cutbirth has a political philosophy that would seem unorthodox perhaps outside of West Texas. He votes for Democrats in local and state elections, but Republican in presidential contests.
“A lot of us think of ourselves as social Democrats and fiscal Republicans,” he said.
This year, though, Cutbirth said he is keeping all of his options open.
“If I think they are going to get in there, and they’ll do a good job for our country and make this country strong, then I am going to vote for them,” he said.