Candidate eyes redrawn Tigard district without state rep
The school board chair for the Tigard-Tualatin School District has announced his intention to run for a newly created Oregon House seat created during recent redistricting efforts.
Ben Bowman announced he would be running for House District 25, a seat that will cover all of Tigard.
"Oregon should be the best place in America to live and raise a family: world-class schools, a clean environment, affordable housing, sustainable infrastructure, and abundant economic opportunity — free from racism, homophobia, and all forms of bigotry," Bowman said in a statement. "We have a long way to go to achieve that vision, but I genuinely believe in us. I am running for the Legislature to help solve big problems and improve people's lives."
In 2020, Bowman — who describes himself as a progressive Democrat — challenged incumbent state Sen. Ginny Burdick in the Democratic primary for Senate District 18, which extends from Southwest Portland into Tigard.
While Bowman boasted endorsements from many Washington County political figures, Burdick soundly defeated Bowman for the seat and was elected to her seventh four-year term.
In 2019, Bowman became the youngest-ever member of the Tigard-Tualatin school board after winning that election at age 27, as well as the first openly gay member of the school board as well. He now serves as chair of the school board.
A 2010 Tualatin High School graduate, Bowman said he has helped move the district forward by supporting students' social, emotional and mental health needs. That has included passing the school district's first-ever educational equity and racial justice policy as well as the model hate speech and bias incident policy "to expose and eradiate injustice in the system."
In addition, he noted that he worked to eliminate the $225-per-student, per sport pay-to-play fees the Tigard-Tualatin School District had in place, making extracurricular activities more accessible.
HD 25 is effectively a brand-new district. It was created in redistricting last month, which sets new legislative and congressional maps for the entire state.
Rep. Dacia Grayber, a Southwest Portland Democrat, currently represents Tigard in the Legislature. But her seat, House District 35, is carved up in redistricting, placing Grayber in the new House District 28 — which includes most of Southwest Portland and parts of Raleigh Hills and Garden Home in Washington County but does not stretch as far as Tigard.
Under state law, legislators are required to live in their districts, meaning Grayber will be eligible to run for re-election in HD 28 but not HD 25.
The new HD 25 covers nearly all of Tigard and part of South Beaverton surrounding Southridge High School, plus unincorporated neighborhoods in Bull Mountain and Metzger.
So far, both Grayber and Margaret Doherty, Tigard's previous state representative, say they are supporting Bowman's campaign.
Also on Bowman's list of supporters are Tigard Mayor Jason Snider and Beaverton Mayor Lacey Beaty, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle and Washington County Chair Kathryn Harrington.
Bowman holds a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Oregon and received a master's degree in education policy from Stanford University in 2018.
He lives near Cook Park in Tigard with his partner, Juan, and their dog, Oso.
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