By Tom Coulter, Wyoming Tribune Eagle Via Wyoming News Exchange
CHEYENNE — Merav Ben-David, a University of Wyoming ecology professor for the past 20 years, announced her candidacy Saturday for the U.S. Senate seat that will be up for grabs in the 2020 election.
She becomes the second Democratic Party candidate to join the race.
Ben-David declared her intentions to run for the seat being vacated by Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., during the Southeast Wyoming Women’s March in downtown Cheyenne on Saturday morning.
Prior to her public announcement, Ben-David spoke with the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on Friday about her campaign priorities, with climate change at the top of the list.
After spending her career researching everything from hunting dogs in Kenya to oil spills in Alaska, Ben-David realized she wanted to get more involved in the political decision-making that impacts ecosystems around the world.
“We are facing environmental challenges, whether we all recognize them or not,” Ben-David said. “My goal is to work in Washington to make sure that we can develop other sources of income and industries in the state that will allow us to succeed in the future.”
A native of Israel, Ben-David has lived in Wyoming for 20 years, though she said her international experiences could be advantageous in the political arena.
“Wyoming is home for me, but I do have the perspective of other places and how various challenges and problems can be addressed,” Ben-David said. “I’m always grabbing at opportunities as they come, and that’s how I was able to gain these experiences.”
Ben-David is the second Democrat to announce a run for the Senate seat. Yana Ludwig, a community organizer in Laramie, announced her candidacy back in June.
While Ludwig considers herself a socialist, Ben-David said she wouldn’t even call herself a Democratic socialist, the political label that some, like presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, have embraced. However, she said her economic priorities are driven by one fundamental goal: achieving equality.