Ben Fu was born in Bartlesville. The son of Chinese immigrants who worked for Phillips, Ben grew up understanding the importance of education, hard work, and community. After graduating from Bartlesville High School, he began dating the woman who would become his wife, Jessica. They both graduated from the University of Oklahoma, where Ben also attended law school. They have two beautiful girls, Sadie and Olivia.
In his professional life, Ben first clerked for the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals here in Tulsa. Three years later, he started his career in the Tulsa County District Attorney’s office as a prosecutor. As a line prosecutor and team supervisor, Ben handled all types of cases, from juvenile and deprived cases to robberies and murders. In 2015, in keeping with his philosophy of being right on crime, Ben founded and became the first director of the Special Victims Unit, where he helped develope a team of prosecutors specializing in rape, sexual assault and domestic murders.
During his eight years at the DA’s office, Ben tried over fifty felony jury trials to verdict. He did so by working closely with victims of all kinds, including victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. He has seen first-hand their bravery and strength. He knows that, to be right on crime, it’s not only necessary to prosecute with firmness when removing the most dangerous among us from society, but also to utilize the legal system’s resources with compassion when a nonviolent offender can be corrected and restored to a productive, tax-paying, citizen.
Right on crime also means advocating for victims in the courtroom as well as at the capital. Under Ben’s direction, Tulsa County’s SVU helped author and pass both the Justice for J.W. law and House Bill 1005, protecting victims of sexual assault and ensuring that rapists and sexual predators face harsher sentences.
Since leaving the DA’s office last year, Ben has been running his own successful practice. However, watching record-setting murder rates and headlines proclaiming Tulsa as one of the ten most violent cities in the U.S., he realized the need for change at the District Attorney’s office. Currently, the district attorney’s office is plagued with underfunding and record turnover. Ben sees an office that has lost the faith of its police force and the community as well as an administration that is out of ideas.
That’s why Ben Fu is running for District Attorney of Tulsa County. Being right on crime, doesn’t just include victims and criminals. He promises to restore the damaged relationship between the District Attorney’s Office and our police force, and to work together with them to make Tulsa County better. He will require prosecutors who review officer-involved shooting charges to attend use of force training to guarantee decisions based on deliberation, training, and a review of the evidence. Ben promises to lean forward in the prosecution of gang violence in our streets and domestic violence and sexual assault in our homes and on our campuses and to work with local organizations to develop resources and programs to divert nonviolent offenders out of the prison system. He believes in common-sense, data-driven solutions to help prevent crime by coordinating with our local police, and probation and parole to actively remove illegal guns and drugs from our streets.
Ben and I were both born and raised in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. We went on our first official date just two weeks after we graduated from high school. It was supposed to be one last summer romance before college, but it didn’t work out that way. One date was all it took – I was all in.
So much has changed in the nearly two decades since that first date. We successfully navigated college and law school. We had two extraordinary daughters. I watched my husband grow from a 17 year old couch potato into a 36 year old couch potato who sometimes runs half marathons. He went from that cute boy in a rock band to the man who gives free music lessons to kids “just because.” He’s a fantastic father, partner, and master of the pressure cooker.
But by far the most amazing change I witnessed in my husband was when he became an assistant district attorney. We first moved to Tulsa in 2006 so that Ben could work for the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals. It was a good job with interesting work, great colleagues, and plenty of time to spend with our new daughter. But Ben wanted to make a bigger difference in our community. So, in 2009, he took the plunge. And a pay cut.
I hate to admit it, but I didn’t expect Ben to flourish the way he did at the DA’s office. It was like the job was made for him. He wasn’t fazed by the long, hard hours and the constant challenges. It sounds cheesy, but knowing he was seeking “justice” was enough, even on the bad days when the facts of a case would become overwhelming or when a trial turned out the wrong way. He just kept fighting because it was the right thing to do.
When he wasn’t at work, Ben was still “working,” constantly mulling over facts or arguments, finding resources for victims, or trying to find ways to make the office better. I’ve lost count of how many closing arguments I watched him give in our kitchen, organizational proposals I saw him outline and discard, and phone calls from advice-seeking colleagues I overheard him take. Ben is a fixer and everyone’s biggest cheerleader. He put everything he had into making the DA’s office better for everyone, no matter who was in charge.
More than anything, I was blown away by the depth of my husband’s compassion, both when dealing with victims of crime and with defendants for whom the system failed. We still receive calls and messages from victims, sometimes just to say “hi” and sometimes to ask for help. Ben answers every single one.
Prosecution is about justice for everyone. For Ben, that often meant working up cases that no one else wanted because every victim should have their day in court. Sometimes it meant trying to convince a young defendant to take a plea deal because he knew the jury would be faced with a range of punishment that was life-destroying. Sometimes it meant dismissing charges that never should have been filed. Ben always tried to choose what was right over what was easy.
Working at the DA’s office weighs on the whole family. The past year or so that Ben has been in private practice has been much easier on all of us. Even so, when Ben said he wanted to run for District Attorney, I didn’t try to talk him out of it. I want a District Attorney like Ben. I want someone in that office with Ben’s ideas, his energy, and his compassion. I know Ben will fight to make Tulsa County into something better. Once again, I’m all in. I hope you are too.