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2008 Elections : NOW PACs Profile

Diane Benson (D-Alaska, At Large)

Alaska Civil Rights Advocate Running to Win

March 25, 2008

In her second attempt to win a bid for Congress, lifelong Alaskan Diane Benson -- winner of the 2006 Democratic primary -- is running against incumbent Don Young (R). While the impetus for Benson's political journey stems from her son's service and injury in the Iraq War, her beliefs and ideals, such as her concern for the underprivileged and the impoverished, make her a deserving candidate for the position and for NOW PAC's endorsement.

Benson grew up in Southeastern Alaska where she spent much of her early childhood homeless. This experience ingrained in her both a strong work ethic and a deep appreciation of daily necessities. At age 12, Benson began volunteering at Ketchikan Hospital. Throughout adolescence she helped her family make ends meet by working various social service jobs and at age 18 was hired by the Fairbanks Native Association. She later went to Washington to work for Senator Mike Gravel.

Benson has held many nontraditional jobs for her gender including a tractor-trailer truck driver on the Alaska pipeline, a fishing boat hand, and Alaska's first female union concrete-mixer driver. She volunteered for the Berger Commission, and later went on to serve as a public relations director for UTA. In 2007, Benson co-produced a film entitled "Healing Child Sexual Abuse," a piece that reflects her understanding of the trauma of violence for children and her strong opposition to violence and sexual assault. Her role in the making of this film gave Benson many outstanding opportunities to speak out for justice for victims of crime throughout Alaska.

Benson is also a small-business owner dispatching Alaskans for feature films and TV advertisements. She is involved in various organizations including Alaska Native Sisterhood, Healing Racism in Anchorage Steering Committee, National Congress of American Indians, the National Organization for Women and the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce. Benson has also been a member of Alaska Press Women, Chugiak Dog Mushers and the Teamster's Union Local 959.

Benson's commitment to civil rights, her life experiences, her dedication to ending sexual assault and domestic abuse, and her desire to end racism and classism make her a tremendous candidate for Congress. When elected, she intends to further her humanitarian services work by expanding health care, ending the Iraq War, and improving the living conditions of the impoverished and the underprivileged.

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