Ben came to Lewiston on a scholarship to Bates College in 2003. Although he planned on going to seminary at the time, he quickly became involved in the community and decided to put roots down in Lewiston. As a member of the Visible Community, he began his involvement in local issues in 2005 during the successful campaign against the so-called “Heritage Initiative” that would have demolished one in four affordable housing units downtown. Since then, he’s worked as a community organizer at Maine People’s Alliance on issues like protecting prescription drug coverage for seniors, increasing property tax assistance through the homestead exemption and the property tax fairness credit, raising the minimum wage, and taxing the wealthy to increase school funding.
On the weekends, Ben spends his time with his wife, Nicola, and two kids, Anjali (two years old), and Rajan (born this year!). As a licensed lay preacher in the Episcopal Church, he preaches at and regularly attends Trinity Church. Ben is a triathlete and takes advantage of the many ways one can stay fit and enjoy the beautiful Lewiston outdoors, including running speed work on Mondays, bootcamp with the Bates Wellness programs on Wednesdays, swimming with the Lewiston masters team on Fridays, and biking with the Maine cycling club on Saturdays—or pushing Anjali in the jogging stroller up Montello hill!
Ben was honored to be named one of Lewiston’s “40 under 40” in 2016. He served on the Lewiston’s Energy Efficiency Taskforce, which supervised the hire of Ian Houseal, the city’s “energy czar” in 2008. He served on the board of the Trinity Jubilee Center, the Vestry of Trinity Church, the Maine Fair Trade Campaign, and the Bates Alumni Council. He currently serves on the board of the Maine Center for Economic Policy. At the state level, he was an appointed member to the legislature’s taskforce reviewing independent contractor misclassification and served on the Bias Based Profiling Advisory Committee that produced an unanimous report (from law enforcement and civil rights organizations) outlining Maine’s plan to address racial profiling.
Ben has authored numerous policy and research papers, including:
- A proposal for Universal Family Care to provide free in-home care for seniors and people with disabilities, as well as childcare for children three and under
- “Time to Name Names: Lewiston’s Landlords of Concern” that provided the first documentation of the corporate ownership structures and rampant code violations of Lewiston’s three worst landlords.
- The Maine Racial Justice Policy Guide, outlining the policy impacts on communities of color of key legislation.
Ben is always up for getting a cup of coffee! In addition to the hand-delivery of a survey to over ten thousand Lewiston residents, Ben tries to meet every week with people in Lewiston to hear their concerns and feedback about the city. Just send him a note through the contact form and Ben will get right back to you!