Ben Westlund served in the Oregon Legislative Assembly from 1997 to 2008, when he was elected State Treasurer. Westlund's political career began in 1996 with his election as a Republican to the Oregon House of Representatives from the 53rd District in central Oregon. He held this position until 2003, when he was appointed to the Oregon Senate to complete Bev Clarno's term; he was elected to that seat, for the 27th Senate District, in 2004. In early 2006, Westlund declared his candidacy for Oregon Governor as an independent; he subsequently withdrew from the Governor's race in August 2006. Westlund continued to serve in the Senate, as a Democrat, until he was elected as State Treasurer in 2008. His term as State Treasurer began in January 2009 and he served as Treasurer until his death in 2010. Westlund's political legacies include creation of the Oregon Cultural Trust, protection of the Metolius River, and healthcare reform. Westlund was an advocate for higher education in central Oregon and was instrumental in the establishment of the OSU Cascades Campus in Bend.
Ben was born Bernard John Westlund II in Long Beach, California on September 3, 1949. He grew up in Apple Valley, California, and moved with his family to Lake Oswego, Oregon, during his teen years. Westlund graduated from Whitman College and became an entrepreneur and businessman in central Oregon. He married Libby Bishop in 1987. Westlund died March 7, 2010.
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