Ben is a computer scientist and former National Science Foundation research fellow with a focus on artificial intelligence. Born and raised in Louisiana by a family of teachers, public education was a crucial part of his childhood. He moved to New York to pursue a computer science degree. After college, he worked as a research programmer at Columbia University’s Center for Computational Learning Systems. He then moved to Seattle to pursue a Ph.D. in Computer Science.
When his husband and partner of 15 years, Chris, was offered the opportunity of a lifetime to work at the Library of Congress in Culpeper. Ben joined him intending to focus on building a startup business. However, his priorities changed following the 2016 election. He saw a politics that was broken and he wanted to fix it.
His efforts lead to his 2017 run for the House of Delegates for the 30th district against Nick Freitas. This district was a very conservative seat that Hillary Clinton had lost by almost 2-to-1 or almost 10,000 votes in 2016. Unafraid of the challenge Ben ran a professional campaign focused on listening to voters, working with the community, and presenting good solutions. Ben ultimately lost the race, but only by 6,000 votes and matched the success of Statewide Democrats, one of the only candidates to do so, and was the best performing candidate in over 20 years.
Undaunted, Ben continued to expand on his successes by running for Chair of the Democratic Party of Culpeper in 2018. As Chair, he instituted forward-thinking reforms that revitalized the local party. His hard work paid off when Democrats won every precinct in the historically conservative town of Culpeper and helped send Abigail Spanberger and Tim Kaine to Congress.
Ben chose to serve his community because he knows that with the right leadership lives are changed for the better. He is running for the Virginia Senate because his current Senator is not supporting and responding to his constituents. Instead, the incumbent Bryce Reeves focuses on extreme legislation which is out of step with this moderate district, cozying up to right-wing donors who he believes will help him win higher office. In 2017 Reeves ran a dirty campaign for Lt. Gov, attacking his opponent on her vote in support of a gay judge. Reeves doesn’t believe that Ben should be able to serve the people of Virginia purely because of who he chooses to love. So Ben is going to replace him.