Ben's Story

Ben's Background

As a native of lower Manhattan and a young activist, I have lived the challenges facing our area. When I was 10, I moved from Brooklyn to Chelsea. I was lucky to have access to excellent education, attending P.S. 234 and, later, Bronx Science. After going to college at the University of Michigan, I came home; holding jobs guided by my conscience, not my wallet.

 

Ben's Work

I started my career as a fundraiser and Digital Director for Barack Obama in 2008. After, I was recruited by the newly-elected Democratic State Senate to help revamp their IT infrastructure.

 

In 2009, the corruption in the Senate was profound. In the first year, my team saved the chamber $1.3M. I’m proud to say I personally uncovered $100,000 of savings annually. Unfortunately, while it was clear the Republicans had no right to govern, the Democrats proved to be just as bad. Our award-winning open government work ended with the infamous Coup and Aqueduct scandal.

 

Post Senate, I dedicated myself to better politics through empowering people. I joined Reinvent Albany, a good-government nonprofit invested in reforming the Young Democrats, and founded a startup to empower citizens. Recently, I’ve started teaching kids to code.

 

Ben's Organizing

After Obama ‘08, I joined Manhattan Young Democrats. There, I ran the first Open Seat Project which educated people on, and elected them to, New York’s County Committee. At first, our actvity wasn’t appreciated by the County Party. But, over years of working with (and pushing against) our local institutions, we proved the value of transparency and engaging new people.

 

In the last eight years, I have served as an elected leader at every level of the Young Democrats - from local to National - and have been one of their strongest fundraisers and activists. Today, I also serve as Secretary of our local County Democratic Party. In this position, I have maintained my energy for organizing -  introducing new levels of transparency, including the County Party's  first website and educational videos.

 

All of my experiences have taken me down a path of progressive issue advocacy and good government. It's these traits that I hope to bring to a State Party and government in need of both.

Opening up the County Committee

A Record of Reform

Opening up the County Committee

As Vice President of Manhattan Young Democrats, Ben ran the very first Open Seat Project. That year, MYD recruited and elected 70 young people to New York's County Committee setting a precedent for every election since.

Secretary of Manhattan Democratic Party

Ben has made Manhattan the city's most transparent County Party by posting minutes online, live tweeting events, starting a weekly email and creating eductional videos about party functions.

A career of good government

Ben has spent his life fighting to make closed institutions open. His team's work at the NY Senate won awards and set standards for open government. Post-Senate, he fought for transparency with Reinvent Albany.

© 2016 Ben Yee for State Committee

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