Ben Wilson, 29, was arrested in the Add the Words protests at the statehouse twice earlier this year. He’s a board member of the LGBT Community Center and sits on the board of the Interfaith Alliance of Idaho.
Age: 29 #politcalanimal is a feature of the TBR 5 Midterm Election issue. For an overview, see Miller.
Affiliations: Board member of the Community Center
Education: Currently studying political science at Boise State University
Occupation: Supervisor at BeavEx
What moment led you to become politically aware?
Probably during the Bush Administration, during the Iraq War. It was the clear manufacturing of data to justify it. But locally, I would say I first became aware in 2006, when the Legislature was voting on an amendment to the Idaho Constitution to define marriage between one man and one woman. I thought that was wrong, so I got involved. It’s mostly been within the last couple years that I’ve started to be more proactive, rather than reactive to things like that.
Who were your influences?
My parents have been supportive. They’ve been very supportive of causes and my life as a gay person. Nicole LeFavour has been a big influence and James DuToit, when he ran for City Council as an openly gay man in 1997. That was very influential to know that you can be gay and have a public life. That was a new concept to me when I was 12.
Why do you stay involved?
There’s so much room for improvement here in this state. I could go to a lot of places where this work has already been done, but we can make this place better for people and make them realize they don’t have to leave the state. They can be an active and accepted member of their community.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of Boise State University, the Center for Idaho History and Politics, or the School of Public Service.