A Suddenly Open Legislative Seat Gets Its First Candidate

Ben Bowman is the first candidate to enter the race for House District 25, which is an open seat under the newly passed redistricting.

Tigard-Tualatin School Board Chair Ben Bowman announced on Monday his candidacy to represent Oregon’s new House District 25.

The district includes Tigard, Metzger and a portion of Beaverton. Under the new maps passed last week by the Oregon Legislature, it’s an open seat—meaning there is no incumbent Bowman will have to face in the upcoming election.

Rep. Dacia Grayber (D-Tigard), who previously represented much of the area, now lives in District 28.

No other candidates have filed for District 25 yet, and Bowman has a notable list of endorsements: Oregon Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, the mayors of Beaverton, Tigard, King City and Tualatin, and 10 state representatives, including Reps. Grayber and WInsvey Campos (D-Aloha).

Bowman, 29, has held public office before, serving as the first openly LGBTQ+ chair of the board for the Tigard-Tualatin School District.

In launching his campaign, Bowman touted a variety of initiatives he led to increase support for LGBTQ+ students in the district, as well as improve student equity: The district eliminated the $225 fee for students to play on any sports team, and implemented a districtwide policy that bans hate speech and bias, and gives clear direction how such incidents should be investigated. He also secured free access to menstrual hygiene products in every middle and high school across the district.

“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 along way to go to achieve that vision, but I genuinely believe in us.”

Bowman ran unsuccessfully in 2020 against incumbent state Sen. Ginny Burdick (D-Portland).

He was a former legislative assistant in Salem and currently works as a policy analyst for the Oregon Department of Education.