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Benjamin Watts

Office: State Representative
Party Affiliation: Democratic
Next Election: 2022
City: Albany
State: Oregon

I was born and raised here in Albany, and have lived here for most of my life. My wife, Pamela, and I live near South Albany High School with our two awesome children, William and Penelope. I graduated from South Albany High School in 1998, and from Linn Benton Community College in 2000. Still living at home with my parents, I then made the decision to join the US Army and left in January, 2001, to attend Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

Pamela and I met while we were both training at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA. She was learning Russian and I was learning Arabic. We were stationed in Germany, and I was deployed to Tikrit, Iraq from 2004-2005. After my deployment, I continued my service in Germany until I left the military in 2006. During my time in the Army, I interacted with so many different people from different regions and walks of life, I learned about struggles I had never had to endure. These conversations and friendships helped form my desire to listen, to focus on equity, and to support our underserved communities however I can.

We moved back to Albany, and I started a career with Samaritan Health Services in their IT department. Within a year, I was supervising the team I had joined. I managed several different teams of growing responsibility during my tenure there. By 2017, my time left to use my GI Bill was running out, and I realized it was now or never. My family was blessed to be able to support my move to go back to school full-time, so I resigned from Samaritan Health Services and enrolled at Oregon State University.

Entering school again as a 37 year old was a very humbling experience. The young people I encountered there were smart, caring, passionate about the world they live in and willing to put in the hard work needed to change it. They inspired me greatly. I graduated with my Bachelors in English in 2019, earning a 3.91 GPA while I was there.

While looking to re-enter the workforce in 2020, we started to hear about the early stages of COVID. My wife and I decided that I should stay available for the kids if this new disease should become a pandemic. Soon after, schools moved to remote education and remained that way for a year.

My family was blessed by being able to support a stay at home parent while the kids attended school from home, but I saw so many hard-working parents struggling to be able to provide care for their kids at home while also providing for their families. When I saw the Greater Albany Public School Board asking for help on their Budget Committee, I jumped at the chance to join and pitch in where I could.

Now, I am rolling up my sleeves once again to pitch in where I can as your Representative for Oregon House District 15.