Coordinator, and Board Chair, National Election Integrity Coalition, and co-founder of the Justice Action Mobilization Network (JAMN)
Ben is a former Vermont State Senator, and a life-long human rights advocate, and environmental activist.
As an election reform activist and Chair of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG ), Ben helped organize the Vermont Campaign for Clean Elections , aimed at driving big money out of politics. He was elected to the Vermont Senate in 1996, where he became the chief sponsor of the Vermont Clean Elections Act, signed in 1997, which limited campaign contributions to state candidates, and created a public financing for the Governor’s and Lt Governors offices. While in the Senate he supported Single Payer health care, education finance reform, fought to control pharmaceutical industry prices, and promoted the Vermont State suit against the tobacco industry. He also helped pass legislation against Monsanto’s Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH) injections of cows, and was a proponent of the Vermont Civil Union Act.
In his earlier life Ben was the Executive Director of NorthEast Organic Farmers (NOFA) and founded EarthRight Institute, an environmental organization which helped promote Vermont’s mandatory recycling law and renewable energy. He helped initiate the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, and co-founded the Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR), a progressive business association focused on sustainable economic development, where he served as Public policy chair. VBSR now has over 700 Vermont business members, and has championed various programs and legislation that has helped Vermont become one of the leaders in environmentally-friendly jobs, sustainable business development and protection of natural resources.
In 1991, after selling his successful international import export business, Ben formed the Stopnitz Fund, hosted by the Vermont Community Foundation, which has supported human rights organizations, various environmental education and action campaigns, and social change organizations. Ben is now a climate change activist/ organizer, and the CEO of a Mexican wind and solar energy company; he works and lives off -the-grid on an organic orchard and farm at the non-profit San Miguel Center for Ecological Sustainability, in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.