New Congressional District
Don Quixote had it better.
Sure, he tilted windmills with a tin pot on his head in a hopeless quest for glory.
But at least he had a horse and a trusted sidekick.
By contrast, the two Democrats vying for the nomination in the newly drawn U.S. Congressional District 6 face long and lonely odds – with too many spinning windmills to last.
The contest pits teacher/activist/performer Mikel Weisser, 54, against former congressional aid Johnnie Robinson. Whoever wins the Republican primary – most likely either Congressman Paul Gosar (R-Prescott) or former state Sen. Ron Gould (R-Lake Havasu City).
Republicans have a roughly 10 percent registration advantage in the district and the registered independents generally lean Republican based on past election history, according to an analysis preformed by the Independent Redistricting Commission.
Northern Gila County accounts for about 11 percent of the district’s population. The district stretches from Rim Country, through Prescott, Sedona and the Verde Valley, then spreads out along the entire western one-third of the state – from the outskirts of Yuma all the way up to the Utah border.
Despite the long odds, Weisser has campaigned exuberantly, criss-crossing the state and firing off e-mails and cell phone messages.
The native Texan has accumulated an odd resumé for a would-be politician. The son of a nightclub singer, he worked as a plumber and homeless shelter manager before going to college at the age of 30. He got an degree in education from the University of Illinois at Springfield and then a masters in education from the University of Northern Arizona. He currently teachers social studies and language arts to middle school students, writes poetry, reads poetry and performs in coffee houses and other venues.
As a political activist he has worked for Occupy Kingman, Amnesty International, Code Pink, Move On.org and the Phoenix End the War coalition.
His platform includes a call for more prosecutions for financial crimes, an end to government no-bid contracts, a citizenship program for all undocumented immigrants, an expanded program to allow the immigration of “economic refugees,” legalization of marijuana, elimination of private prisons, establishment of universal, government sponsored health care and a large-scale shift to alternative forms of energy.
He’s contending for the nomination with Johnnie Robinson, another Texas native and the son of a welder and stone mason. He did volunteer work for the Special Olympics and soup kitchens in Maryland where he grew up.
As an adult he moved to Arizona, started a mentor program, work with public agencies in Pinal County and organized community neighborhood cleanups.
After graduating from Central Arizona College with AA degrees in business and political science, he worked with congressional offices and youth mentoring programs.
His campaign platform includes support for increased federal support for education and the development of a standardized curriculum, tax incentives to encourage U.S Corporations to bring jobs back to this country and broader access to affordable health care, expanded benefits for veterans.