Meet Ben Lavine
I am a native Portlander, born in 1986. I attended Lincoln High School, in the heart of downtown, and I currently live in the Woodlawn neighborhood in Northeast Portland. I earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Liberal Studies, with minors in Sociology and Philosophy, from Portland State University.
I have worked in the service industry for over 10 years. In doing this work, I have met and worked along side hundreds of people, young and old, of all ethnicities and economic backgrounds. And, while getting to know them was often a sweet experience, I often found that we also shared common ground in some bitter struggles, in trying to make ends meet, and in trying to confront injustice.
The Democratic Party is in dire need of fresh voices and a bold vision. We can be a part of a movement to remake the future, and build a more just, peaceful world.
You might be wondering:
"Why run for Congress, rather than a local office?"
Portland is a progressive city, and while it does have some urgent problems, the issues that I care most deeply about are ones playing out on the national and global stage. Here at home, there are people advocating for solutions to matters of homelessness, of policing, and other issues with which a growing city is faced. In Congress, outspoken voices demanding action on climate change, wealth inequality, and voting rights, (and other things) are comparatively rare. I would further use a national office to promote in any way I could solutions to our uniquely local problems.
"Are you worried about splitting the Democratic vote?"
No, this is not an issue because I am running in the Democratic primary. If I win the Democratic nomination, only then would I be on the general election ballot. Anyone who shares my ideals can, and should, vote for me in the primary election, which is on May 15th, 2018. This is the only way we can send the message to our leaders, that we are demanding change.
"If elected, what is your plan for achieving the goals you have set?"
I readily acknowledge that I don't have experience as an elected official, and this may cause some to hesitate to endorse my run. But I hope I'm not being too much of an idealist when I quote Lincoln, who immortalized the promise of the Unites States as "government of the people, by the people, [and] for the people". There are no academic, or class, or wealth, race, sex, or other requirements for participating in our democracy. What matters is the desire to take part in shaping the future of the country, and I believe that in running, and in hopefully being elected to represent Oregon's 3rd District, I can give voice to a popular movement that aspires to make the world a better place.
Practically speaking, however, the incumbent Congressman has an established organizational structure, and if I am elected, I plan to retain his staff in order to efficiently carry out the day to day operations of serving the constituency. I'll make it a priority to identify any opportunities to improve the efficacy or scope of these constituent services.
In Washington, I plan to work closely with the Democratic Party. While I will rely upon them to help me navigate the traditions of these hallowed institutions, I will also make clear to the Party what my election represents: a demand that the Party make a break from business as usual, a demand that the Party make policies that will lessen the influence of political and financial elites over the political process. I will also work to network with other like-minded Members of Congress. Developing positive relationships with other Members will give us increased leverage when confronting entrenched power structures, and will also improve the prospects for achieving a legislative victory on climate change, wealth inequality, and voting rights, (and other things).
"I'm interested in supporting your campaign! How can I help?"
Thank you for your support. The #1 way you can help me is by spreading the word, in person, or on social media.
While I'm not going to be conducting any open ended fundraising efforts (campaign finance reform is one of my issues, after all), if you are interested in helping me cover the costs of running this campaign, you can find details on how you can do so here.
Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook in order to get the latest news on my campaign, to find out where I'll be next, or just to drop me a line.