Benjamin Reynolds

Ben Reynolds
Johnson City, NY
Year of Graduation

Why SUNY Oneonta?

I wanted to get away and experience life away from my family -- become my own person and explore the world on my own, but stay close enough to be able to commute if I wanted to go home. Oneonta’s downtown area and community is very similar to the Johnson City and Binghamton region, so I was comfortable here. I also had some friends from high school who came to SUNY Oneonta. I live on campus but commute back home often to be involved in both communities, since I was just elected the newest member of the Village Board in Johnson City.

My Activities

E-board for College Democrats, Generation Vote

Best Experiences

Probably becoming active in College Democrats and organizing a group of students to get involved politically. I had students in my political science class making calls for my campaign, and seeing them go from that to wanting to become involved in politics on a state-wide level was rewarding for me to see. The professors at Oneonta have also been really receptive to the idea of my campaigning. Their level of understanding has been really appreciated. Also Professor Bill Wilkerson is great. Professors, in general, have been a great resource to talk to about policy and legislation, especially since some of them have backgrounds in campaign work and policy analyst stuff. They were able to offer their insight, and it was really nice to be able to sit in a classroom and have a conversation with the professor about what I was doing.

What I’ll Remember in 20 Years

Being elected the newest member of the Johnson City Village Board, making me the youngest elected official in Broome County and one of the youngest in the state. It was a nail-biter. Part of what contributed to my success was my age. Having young people run for office isn’t something you see often, and I think people wanted to vote for a fresh voice. I worked really hard to get out there and communicate with voters to understand the issues, knocking on doors and making phone calls. On Election Night, I won by five votes, but there were still 300 absentee ballots out that needed to be counted. It was really suspenseful. I found out in early December that I had won, and I just had my first committee meeting.

Plans, Goals, Dreams

My dream job, if I’m not an elected official of course, would be to be a foreign service officer.

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