Hi, I’m Ben Florsheim.
I moved to Middletown in 2010 to become a student at Wesleyan University. I grew up in the Midwest and the Rocky Mountains, and didn’t know what to expect of my new city. But I was curious about politics, so during the first week of my freshman year, I walked down to Main Street to visit Democratic Headquarters and see if I could get involved.
I quickly learned that once you’re involved in one thing in Middletown, you’re involved in a lot of things. I jumped into politics headfirst, leading a drive to hundreds of new voters—and along the way, started learning about the many different sides of Middletown and how they’re all connected. From downtown to Maromas, from the riverfront to Mount Higby, from our great colleges to our community nonprofits… one discovery led to another, and pretty soon, I started to realize what a special place I had arrived in. It wasn’t long before Middletown started to feel like home.
On the campaign trail and in the classroom, I found myself coming back again and again to the personal stories and the historical studies that show how badly our politics has failed working people—and how, in many ways, that’s by design. It strengthened my resolve to help change things for the better, and I knew the best way to do that was from the bottom up, not the top down.
After graduating, I skipped an opportunity to move to Washington and instead accepted an offer from Senator Chris Murphy to be his community outreach assistant here in Connecticut. For the last five years, my job has been all about listening—making sure that Senator Murphy is hearing from people all across our state about what’s important to them. My work means I’ve seen everything our state has to offer, and I can correctly label a map of Connecticut with the names of all 169 towns (a very boring party trick). But every night, I’m glad to come home to Middletown.
I’ve also learned that if you work in public service and you’re sitting behind a desk all day, you’re probably not doing a good job. If you want to make good decisions, it takes proactive effort, and when we’re writing national legislation, we don’t need to hear from one or two perspectives on how it would affect Connecticut—we need to hear every perspective. That’s what I work to make happen every day, by building coalitions, staying in touch, and getting a little creative when I have to. It’s just as important at the local level as it is at the federal level.
Outside of work, I stay active in Middletown civic life and serve on the board of NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut. In my spare time I enjoy reading, hiking, spending time with family and friends, and going for Sunday morning drives. I live on Loveland Street, a couple blocks from my freshman year dorm. I never could have imagined it when I arrived here—and now I can’t imagine it any other way.