Biography

On November 4, 2014, California State Senator Ben Allen was overwhelmingly elected to represent the 26th Senate District, which consists of the Westside and coastal South Bay communities of Los Angeles County stretching from Santa Monica to the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

Senator Allen serves as chair of the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee as well as the legislature's Joint Committee on the Arts.  He is a member of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, the Budget Subcommittee on Education, the Natural Resources and Water Committee, the Transportation and Housing Committee, and the Veterans Affairs Committee.

Ben is a former board member, and former Board President, of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.  On the School Board, he was a leader on issues of environmental sustainability, financial accountability, and community engagement. While President, he helped shepherd through a successful $385 million bond measure (which upgraded District facilities using cutting-edge environmental best practices and created good new local jobs). He helped lead the negotiations for the District with the City of Santa Monica that increased and stabilized City funding for the schools, and he supported efforts to ensure that the District provides all students with high-quality educational opportunities regardless of their background or means.

Ben was a member of the executive board of the Los Angeles County School Trustees Association, and he was Chair of L.A. County’s Committee on School District Organization.  He led the successful Los Angeles launch of The Spark Program, a non-profit organization that connects at-risk middle school students with apprenticeships; and he currently serves on Spark’s Los Angeles advisory board.

While in law school, he served as a voting member of the University of California Board of Regents, and was a judicial clerk with the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.  As an attorney, he worked for the law firm of Richardson & Patel LLP, and previously as a litigator with Bryan Cave LLP.

Prior to his law career, Ben worked for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), and then as communications director for Congressman Jose Serrano (D-NY).  He is now a senior fellow with the international human rights organization Humanity in Action, a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, and a graduate of the Jewish Federation's New Leaders Project.  He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University, where he graduated cum laude in History; a Master of Philosophy degree from the University of Cambridge, and a Juris Doctorate  from UC Berkeley.  He is fluent in Spanish.

Senator Allen was a lecturer at UCLA Law School, where he taught education law and policy.