For Steve O’Ban, this is home

Steve O’Ban grew up delivering newspapers on his bike in University Place and Fircrest and was raised by a single mom who was a kindergarten teacher.

Steve and Mother

Steve with his mom

After graduating from the University of Washington and Seattle University Law School, Steve made it his life’s work to help people solve their legal problems. He represented small businesess, fought for the civil rights of individuals, and currently volunteers at a legal clinic serving the homeless at the Rescue Mission in Pierce County.

Steve helped local teachers in the courtroom as well. He defended 8,000 Washington state educators when money was taken without permission from their paychecks and used for politics and helped them regain their lost wages. The U.S. Supreme Court heard the case and ruled in their favor in an 8-0 decision.

Currently, Steve is Senior Counsel for Behavioral Health working on the Pierce County’s Executive team. He leads a number of new county initiatives, including establishing a new crisis clinic for the mentally ill and substance addicted, the Mobile Crisis Intervention Response Team providing timely and ongoing mental health services, assisted outpatient treatment for the mentally ill who need more structured care, and the Regional System of Care Committee reshaping our county’s mental health system.

Family life

New family photo

Steve and his wife, Laurie, have been married over 32 years.

Laurie taught at UW Tacoma and Tacoma Community College. Being married to a teacher and raised by a mother who was a kindergarten teacher, it is no surprise that teachers and schools are close to Senator O’Ban’s heart.

Steve and Laurie’s sons, Thomas and Landan, served proudly at JBLM. Thomas is a county prosecutor who serves in the US Army Reserves. Landan is a West Point graduate, and served as a 1st Lt., Stryker platoon leader at JBLM.

Landan was just married to Lindsay, and Steve and Laurie are excited to welcome a daughter, finally, into the O’Ban family!

Compassion for our neighbors

Through his work at Pierce County, Steve is helping to open the new Parkland-Spanaway Crisis Recovery Center that will help those struggling with substance abuse, addiction and mental health crises.

Compassion for neighbors Steve works as a volunteer and as Chair of the Board of a great organization that serves the poorest of the poor on the Yakama Indian reservation renovating housing, providing food and offering after-school tutoring. He also serves on a new nonprofit, Elevate Health, bringing innovation and reforms to our regional health care system, helping children and some of our most vulnerable adults on Medicaid.

After learning that 19 skilled nursing facilities in Washington closed due to a lack of sufficient Medicaid reimbursements, leaving many seniors without care, Steve began working on a solution. As the Ranking Member of the Health & Long-Term Care Committee, Steve fought to get more funding for skilled nursing facilities. He was instrumental in getting additional funding to address this problem, but more needs to be done. He plans to sponsor more legislation next year to continue this fight, until every senior in need of skilled nursing has access to the best care available.

Delivering results

In only his first few years in the Senate, Senator O’Ban won funding to fix I-5 congestion at JBLM…helping to keep the base off the closure list, and protecting thousands of jobs. He is working to “exit” Pierce County from the Sound Transit property, car tabs and sales taxes (ST3) so our tax dollars go to fund transit and roads here, not trains in Seattle. And he is fighting to have your voice heard for $30 car tabs without raising taxes.

Steve has tackled homelessness, mental health, and addiction. As the ranking member of the committee responsible for these issues, he has made this a top priority. He sponsored the CARE Act, a bill that would insist on help for chronic offenders who are incapable and unwilling of caring for themselves. He authored Joel’s Law that gives parents the right to seek mental health care for their children when the local bureaucrat refuses to provide care. Steve believes that we simply cannot allow people with addictions and mental health problems to go without care and turn to crime.

He supported education funding (additional $4.5 billion, a 30-year high) and the biggest college tuition cut ever – without raising taxes! There is still much to be done to ensure this money makes it to the classroom where it will improve student learning. But we are finally on the right track after decades of diverting revenues away from schools to lesser priorities.

As JBLM’s Senator, Steve makes vets a priority. He authored a tax credit for employers who hire vets, and a program giving college credit for military training.

And Senator O’Ban stands up for women’s health. He has worked for improved breast cancer screening and authored a law to reduce pregnancy-related deaths. He authored a new policy which extends health care to post-partum moms so they can get the care they need for up 12 months. This year he opposed a measure to reduce the penalty for someone who intentionally and knowingly infects a woman with HIV…from a felony to a misdemeanor. Sadly, a Seattle-centric majority voted for this law, but Steve will work next year to reverse this bad decision.