This time she’s hoping that her previous political experience and the rising tide of discontent with the Republican-controlled Congress will translate into a much different result.
Weirauch, a resident of rural Napoleon with extensive roots in the 16-county Ohio 5th district, resigned her position as assistant director with the Center for Regional Development at Bowling Green State University in order to campaign full time.
Last Saturday, October 7, Weirauch joined migrant workers for a pot luck picnic in Tiffin to discuss immigration issues, fair wages and other matters of importance to the farm laborers. Weirauch’s stances on such matters are in direct contrast to those of her opponent.
She quite obviously relishes such differences. In spite of her relative political inexperience, she feels “very well qualified” for a congressional post and she also believes that the traditionally conservative district is ready for a breath of fresh air.
“For the whole democratic process, it’s important to have choices,” Weirauch told La Prensa last week.
Gillmor voted for HR 4437 at the end of 2005, the infamous House bill that would have made felons of all undocumented workers and those who rendered any assistance to them.
“The House version was much too extreme in treating undocumented workers as felons,” said Weirauch. “And it would make matters worse. They will just go deeper into the shadows and the job of finding who is here legally will be more difficult. The bill is overly harsh and unrealistic.”
Weirauch spoke of the complexities of the issue of dealing with immigration as a matter of policy and said that she would urge colleagues, if she is victorious, to distinguish what should fall in the law enforcement area and what should be considered public policy.
“Are we talking border security or control over the inflow of people?” she asks. “Border security is one set of policies, labor flow is another.”
She also urges policy makers to remove the discussion from the political arena and initiate a “sound public policy discussion.”
HR 4437 is not the only point of divergence in views between Weirauch and the incumbent. The War in Iraq, for example, on which Gillmor has consistently sided with the administration’s approach, brought a much different response from Weirauch.
“We’re going to be there for 10 to 15 years,” she said of the Republican approach. “That’s unacceptable.”
Weirauch graduated from BGSU in 1980 with a degree in business administration. Shortly thereafter, she founded a non-profit charitable organization to improve the quality of life for people and animals of the greater Henry County area. She also served as the regional program coordinator for the Humane Society for 10 years.
Weirauch was recruited to run against Gillmor in 2004 by the Democratic Party. It was not a hard sell. Seeking political office had been a long-time goal for the community activist. If this campaign does not succeed, in fact, she can envision herself trying again in 2008.
“There are a whole lot of folks looking for a change,” she said.