Francis A. Benjamin, Mayor, Term: 2024-202718524318_180_180

Francis is honored to serve the people of Pullman.  He is in his first four-year term as Pullman mayor and building upon fifteen years of Pullman City Council leadership (2003-2015, 2021-2022). Francis is an energetic community organizer and activist whose leadership and volunteer passion extends from youth mentoring to senior advocacy, from housing affordability and food security to economic development and resources for entrepreneurs. He enjoys serving Pullman’s community, welcomes community input, and believes that together we can achieve the best solution as we build a welcoming community.

He has worked in the WSU Psychology Department since 1987, designing psychological research and managing IT.  He has taught real estate since 2016 in the WSU Finance and Management Science Department. He oversees the Political Interaction research lab working to discover ways to improve the current political process and improve political civility.  He previously chaired the WSU Administrative Professional Advisory Council and is past president of the WSU Staff Senate.  He earned the WSU President’s Employee Excellence Award in 1999.

Francis serves on the boards of the Pullman Chamber of Commerce, Pullman Community Council on Aging, and the Kiwanis Club of Pullman.  He is a Kiwanis and Pullman Community Council on Aging past board president. He has been on the Chamber Lentil Committee since 2002 and coordinates the Lentil Chili Bowl. He received the Chamber’s Hall of Fame Modern Award in 2017 and the Outstanding Government Service Award in 2017. He has over a decade of experience as a business mentor for high school students and entrepreneurs. He previously chaired the Downtown Pullman Association Economic Vitality Committee, Southeast Washington Economic Development Association Board, Palouse Regional Transportation Planning Organization Board, and Palouse Knowledge Corridor “Be The Entrepreneur Bootcamp”. He previously served on the Whitman County Associates Development Organization Board and co-chaired the Chamber Economic Development/ Government Affairs committee.

Since 2016 he has co-chaired Pullman 2040; a grass roots visioning effort which brings together community stakeholders, non-profits, and businesses to work to improve Pullman.  Pullman 2040 member entities have identified over 50 projects to be accomplished by 2040.  Pullman 2040 projects in which he has actively supported include: Town Gown Collaborative, Pullman Hill Parties, the 3 Forks River & Arts Festival, Community Welcoming Survey, development of a Creative Arts District, repurpose of in-town railways, and community bond efforts for the Community & Youth Center and the expansion of the Pullman Regional Hospital.

He serves on the Innovia Foundation Leadership Council and the Association of Washington Cities Diversity Equality Inclusion & Belonging Cabinet.  He has previously served on the Washington State Legislature’s Economic Development Proviso Work Group and as a Washington State Department of Commerce Evergreen Apps Challenge Judge.

He previously chaired the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) Employee Benefit Trust Board of Trustees, a self-funded insurance pool, and the AWC Workers’ Comp Retro Rating Program Board. He is past president of AWC (2014-2015), an organization that represents all 281 cities in the state and was on its board from 2012 to 2015.

Francis earned an BS, Electrical Engineering, from University of Idaho; a BA, Biblical Studies, and MA, Theology, from College of Ministry Training; and a BS, Psychology, and a MA, Political Science, from Washington State University.  He has also completed his Certificate of Municipal Leadership and Advanced Certificate of Municipal Leadership from the Association of Washington Cities.

Francis and his wife, Heidi, met in college and chose to stay in Pullman because of the people and because it is a great place to raise a family.  Heidi is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and owner of Phoenix Rising Counseling Services. Together they have raised three children in Pullman’s excellent school system.  Jeremy is in the Marine Reserves; Joel works for Washington State Department of Social and Health Services in the Developmental Disability Administration; and Gailynn is a doctor, currently in a medical residency program.

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