Ben grew up in Cornelius, Oregon on his family’s Century Farm, picking strawberries, loading trucks and driving combine every summer growing up starting when he was 5 years old. Ben went to school at McKinney Elementary School, St. Matthew’s Elementary School, JB Thomas Junior High School, HilHi, and the University of Oregon. In Eugene, Ben started getting involved on issues he cared about through the campus student government. While on campus, Ben worked to fight the skyrocketing tuition increases of the 1990’s and prioritized registering students to vote in local elections. In 1998, Ben was elected the vice-president of the student body.
Civic participation became a calling for Ben after school. Ben continued the work he started on campus as a student organizer and advocate, fighting for affordable higher education, voter registration, and taking on big banks and payday lenders to stop outrageous fees and interest rates.
Ben worked with college students all across the state and all across the county, eventually becoming the National Field Director for the New Voters Project, a national voter registration and youth voter participation campaign that registered hundreds of thousands of voters.
Beginning in 2007, a fight to save his family farm got Ben started running political electoral campaigns. When a rollback to Oregon’s one-of-a-kind land use laws threatened to build hundreds of homes on and near his family’s farm in Cornelius, Ben took a job as the field director for the successful Yes on 49 campaign, the farm and open space measure that saved farms all around the state, including his family farm.
Electoral success gave Ben the campaign bug, and he continued to work for issues and people he believed in, he ran John Kroger’s successful campaign for Attorney General and had the opportunity to work for Attorney General Kroger in the Department of Justice. While at DOJ, among other accomplishments, Ben helped Kroger start the environmental crimes unit and the civil rights unit, and aided in passing a law that held overly aggressive debt collectors accountable when they break the law. Ben now owns and runs his own small business – a strategic planning, campaign and communication firm – working on school and public safety levies, among other important campaigns.
“I’ve spent my whole life working to make Oregon a better place to live. As a state legislator I’ll take action every day to tackle Oregon’s biggest problems and solve them in a way that helps create more jobs and more opportunity for Oregonians. I would be honored to have your vote.” - Ben Unger