Tigard-Tualatin school board chair to run for Oregon House
Ben Bowman outside Tigard High School. Photo provided by Ben Bowman.
Ben Bowman, Tigard-Tualatin School Board chair, will run for state House in a newly drawn Tigard-based legislative district, he announced this week.
Rep. Dacia Grayber, D-Portland, has represented the Tigard area in the House since 2020, but she doesn’t live in the redrawn 25th House District that contains most of the Portland suburb. Bowman, 29, said he took that as a sign to step up and run.
“I think it’s really important for Tigard to have a strong voice in the legislature,” Bowman said. “The next session is going to be a critical one for Oregon as we recover from the pandemic and as we try to chart out what the future of the state’s going to look like, and I think I’ve got the relationships and the skills and the experience to be really effective in Salem.”
Grayber, as well as former Rep. Margaret Doherty and the current mayors of both Tigard and Beaverton, quickly endorsed Bowman. He previously worked as Doherty’s chief of staff during her 10 years representing the community in the Legislature.
Bowman now works for the Oregon Department of Education as an operations and policy analyst, a role he would have to leave if elected because the state Constitution bars legislators from working for the executive or judicial branches.
If elected, Bowman said he intends to expand his work on equity-based policies passed by the Tigard-Tualatin district. There, Bowman and fellow board members eliminated charges to participate in school sports and required that middle and high schools provide menstrual hygiene products free to students.
“We need to be eyes wide open about the gaps in our system and the ways that our system has failed to provide equitable opportunities to all students, particularly historically marginalized students,” he said.
Providing more funding to schools to reduce class sizes and provide more social and emotional support is another priority, he said.
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