Ben Bowman headshot May 2019May 2019:  An In-depth Look at Ben Bowman

By Rich Siegel, Washington County Democrats Communication Committee Member

Ben Bowman is running for Position 2 on the Tigard-Tualatin School Board

After recently interviewing Ben Bowman, it’s hard for me to imagine him not running for Tigard-Tualatin School Board, Position #2

Ben has education in his blood. His mom was a teacher. His mom’s dad was teacher. His dad’s mom was teacher.

“For my mom, teaching was a calling. My mom was a teacher at North Marion High School which served many low income students, students of color, and immigrant students. For her students that needed help, she would often go to work early and stay late.”

“Education has always been in my family, but my skill set and passion was in the policy and political world. I’m fascinated with education policy.”

Ben received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from University of Oregon and master’s in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership Studies from Stanford University. He’s worked for Representative Margaret Doherty (D) (Chair of the Oregon House Education Committee) and Representative Val Hoyle (D) (former House Majority Leader) in the state legislature. He also served on the Tigard-Tualatin Strategic Plan Committee.

Our biggest challenge

“I think the biggest challenges facing the students and the district today are the social, emotional and mental health challenges in their lives. It’s hard to be a kid today. Issues of bullying, issues of food insecurity, rising poverty, parents who don’t have healthcare, housing insecurity with children moving from school to school.”

“Schools were made to educate; they were built to teach reading, math, and science. We need to realize that the role of schools has evolved. We can’t expect students to succeed academically if they’re not having their basic needs met — if a kid is hungry or has an unsupported mental health issues or traumatic experiences. We’re going to need more counselors, more social workers, school psychologists, family engagement specialists, multilingual liaisons, and more.”

Student voice

Ben’s campaign staff is composed entirely of high school students. He’s a firm believer in engaging students in politics – from the school board to the state capitol.

“I’ve always been a strong believer in student voice. If you engage students meaningfully in decisions about how their school works, those students will be more motivated to show up and succeed. It doesn’t cost anything to ask students students what they think. It doesn’t cost anything to add an another student to the school board, budget committee or facilities committee.”

“About four years ago I started the Capitol Ambassador’s Program. We bring students from rural, urban and suburban Oregon – Democrats, Republicans – and we bring them all to the state capitol. They meet with their legislators, sometimes testify on bills, talk to lobbyists and other officials. I’ve found when you give students the opportunity to engage in these activities, they love it. They want to be involved. It can make politics interesting, more noble and honorable.”

“Education does not just make workers for the economy, it makes citizens for our democracy.”

“Education should be a priority for Democrats. We think about climate change, issues of equality for women, people of color, the LGBT community – those are absolutely top tier concerns. But education should be elevated to a top tier concern as well. If you have a strong education system, you’ll be able to build momentum for climate change – build momentum for a more equal society. Education does not just make workers for the economy but citizens for the democracy.”

If you are interested in connecting with Ben’s campaign, visit his website.