Ben Waxman

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Ben Waxman speaking at SEIU rally in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Ben Waxman (born February 9, 1985) is a prominent Philadelphia-based political operative and consultant. He most recently worked as the Director of Communications for District Attorney Larry Krasner and the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office.[1]

Early activism[edit]

Waxman was heavily involved in left-wing activism during his high school years, leading protests against the Iraq war and U.S.A. Patriot Act. He also served on the board and later as youth organizer for an anti-death penalty group called Pennsylvania Abolitionists United Against the Death Penalty. Waxman was recognized for his high school activism by the American Civil Liberties Union[2] and Juniata College, where he received the Burkholder Scholarship and other awards.[3] Waxman continued his activism in college, where he was active in local Democratic politics and published liberal opinion articles in newspapers across Pennsylvania.[4]

Journalism[edit]

After college, Waxman was hired as a reporter to cover state and local government for a joint project between Philadelphia Daily News and WHYY-FM called “It’s Our Money.”[5] During that time, he wrote about government corruption,[6] criminal justice reform,[7] the state budget, and other topics. Waxman also appeared regularly as an analyst in local media, including WHYY’s Radio Times[8] and local television stations. “It’s Our Money” was named Best Blog by the Philadelphia Citypaper in 2008. Waxman left the project in May 2011.[9]

Progressive activism and Pennsylvania Senate[edit]

After leaving journalism, Waxman joined the staff of the United Food and Commercial Workers as part of a campaign to unionize Walmart employees. He then worked on the Pennsylvania campaign against the so-called "Voter ID" law during the 2012 election.

Waxman was hired by State Senator Vincent Hughes as Communications Director in May 2013. As Hughes’ primary spokesperson, Waxman was regularly quoted in media outlets throughout the state and maintains an active presence on social media. Waxman played a role in several legislative campaigns, including raising the minimum wage, expanding health insurance, and increasing funding for public education through a tax on natural gas drilling. Waxman was named to Billy Penn's "Who's Next: 18 young Pennsylvania's shaping politics" and Politics PA's "Pennsylvania’s 2014 Rising Stars: 30 Under 30."

Post-Trump Election[edit]

Waxman has been highly critical of President Donald Trump since the 2016 election, telling City & State PA that he was "looking for new ways to fight Trump...I'm not giving him a chance."[10] He told the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent in a separate interview that traditional political approaches by Democrats had failed to prevent Trump from being elected and the party needed to consider alternative forms of engagement. Waxman also encouraged millennials to run for political office at a local post-election panel discussion, stressing the need for grassroots organizing tactics such as door-to-door canvassing.[11]

Larry Krasner[edit]

Longtime criminal defense and civil rights attorney Larry Krasner announced in February 2017 that he would be a candidate for Philadelphia District Attorney.[12] Waxman worked on the campaign as spokesperson through the November election,[13] which Krasner won by a 3-1 ratio.[14] Waxman then served in the same role during the transition[15] before being appointed Director of Communications in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office after Krasner was inaugurated.[16]

Waxman left the DA's Office to return to his consulting firm, A. Waxman & Company, in 2019.[17]

Public education and community involvement[edit]

Waxman has been active on issues related to Philadelphia public schools. He co-founded Friends of Albert M. Greenfield, which helps raise money and volunteers for a neighborhood elementary school in Center City, Philadelphia.[18] The group also organized a panel discussion on race and public education in response to a controversial cover story of Philadelphia Magazine that some criticized as being racially insensitive.[19]

Waxman is also involved in local civic activism, serving on the board of the Center City Residents Association and was elected in 2014 to the 8th Ward Democratic Executive Committee. He Is also on the board of the Philadelphia Jewish Labor Committee.

Waxman is a member of Beth Zion-Beth Israel Synagogue.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Krasner Announces Rest of DA's Office Leadership Hires in Internal Email". Philadelphia Magazine. 2018-01-11. Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  2. ^ "ACLU Announces 2003 Youth Activism College Scholarship Recipients | American Civil Liberties Union". Aclu.org. 2003-03-28. Retrieved 2015-08-20.
  3. ^ "Juniata College - News - Juniata Student Chosen for St. Andrews Scholarship". Juniata.edu. 2005-04-11. Retrieved 2015-08-20.
  4. ^ "Juniata College - News - Op-Eds". Juniata.edu. Retrieved 2015-08-20.
  5. ^ It's Our Money. "It's Our Money". philly.com. Retrieved 2015-08-20.
  6. ^ Ben Waxman. "Did a major contractor for Sheriff's Office violate campaign finance laws?". Philly.com. Retrieved 2015-08-20.
  7. ^ "DEATH ROW DOLLARS | It's Our Money | News and Information". WHYY. Retrieved 2015-08-20.
  8. ^ "Radio Times - Denis here: Our friend Ben Waxman of the..." Facebook. 2010-12-07. Retrieved 2015-08-20.
  9. ^ Doron Taussig. "IOM news". Philly.com. Retrieved 2015-08-20.
  10. ^ "City & State PA - 12152016". issuu. Retrieved 2017-01-31.
  11. ^ Davies, Dave. "Will Trump election spur millennials to run? — NewsWorks". Newsworks.org. Retrieved 2017-01-31.
  12. ^ "Krasner jumps into Philly DA race : Dave Davies: Off Mic : WHYY". WHYY. Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  13. ^ "FOP prez calls vulgar chanters at Krasner victory party 'parasites of the city' - Philly". Philly.com. Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  14. ^ "Larry Krasner wins race for Philly DA". Philly.com. Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  15. ^ "Krasner Transition Quiet but Watchers Discern Signs of Progress | The Legal Intelligencer". The Legal Intelligencer. Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  16. ^ "Krasner Announces Rest of DA's Office Leadership Hires in Internal Email". Philadelphia Magazine. 2018-01-11. Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  17. ^ https://www.law.com/thelegalintelligencer/2019/04/18/da-krasners-spokesman-ben-waxman-to-leave-office-next-month/?slreturn=20200016144834. Missing or empty |title= (help); External link in |website= (help); Missing or empty |url= (help)
  18. ^ http://centercityresidents.org/Resources/Documents/22136_CCRA_3rdQ_2014_web.pdf
  19. ^ "Philly Mag Cover Criticized at Second Event This Week". Philadelphia Magazine. 2015-10-23. Retrieved 2016-11-02.