UPDATE AND CORRECTION:
Correction: The location of the candiate forum is NOT at the Chamber of Commerce offices. My error. The correct location is
85 Arizona 95 Bullhead City, AZ 86442
Update: "in keeping with my policy of being inclusive and to try to be sure the event isn't too "Mohave-centric," what with Murphy, Gould and myself all being Mohave-ites, I have personally called the two Pinal County candidates, Richard Grayson in Apache Junction, running as an Americans Elect write-in candidate and my opponent in the Democratic primary, Johnnie Robinson, out of Casa Grande. I spoke directly to Grayson who will not be attending and left a message with Robinson's family. I am a Democrat. I celebrate many voices. May the best ideas win!"
Press Advisory: Weisser -Gould Grudge Match, Two Years in the Making, Takes Place Wednesday
Contact: Mikel Weisser, 928-234-5633, firstname.lastname@example.org
Event: Bullhead City Chamber of Commerce Congressional Candidate Forum
Location: Bullhead Chamber of Commerce, 1251 Arizona 95 Bullhead City, AZ 86429 (928) 754-4121
Time: Wednesday June 20, 2012 12:00pm
This Wednesday, June 20th, when the Bullhead City Chamber of Commerce hosts their District Four Congressional Candidate forum, Democratic hopeful Mikel Weisser will complete a quest that has been two years in the making: to ask Ron Gould a question. “That’s right, back in 2010, Ron Gould told me, a private citizen, one of his constituents, in fact, that he was not going to let me ask him questions unless I was actually running against him. Well, it took two years but here I am, “Weisser laughs.
Mikel Weisser, a school teacher, poet, political humorist and activist, launched his run for the Democratic nomination for US House in January and qualified by May to be on the ballot as a nominee for the brand new Arizona Congressional District Four, a rural western AZ district that represents the majority of seven counties and covers more land area than the state of Illinois. Mohave and Yavapai Counties make up the majority of the population in the district, highlighting the fact that Mohave County has grown to become the fourth most populous in the state. All three of the candidates,
In 2010 Weisser’s wife, Beth Weisser, was Gould’s opponent when he ran for reelection as the state senator for the former LD3 state legislative district. Mikel served as his wife’s right hand man and helped coordinate many aspects of his wife’s “Clean Elections” state funded campaign. “That is where I got the idea that I knew enough about the process to launch my own campaign this round.” Beth Weisser is again running for the newly renamed LD5 state senate slot. Gould, on the other hand, has “termed out” of his spot in the state senate and aiming to use his record and name recognition to advance him to the new Congressional spot. Depending on Gosar’s popularity in a district that is largely not his territory, Gould is likely to be Mikel Weisser’s opponent in the general election come November, a rivalry Weisser jokingly suggests began at a candidate forum in Fort Mohave in the fall of 2010.
“I went along with Beth to listen in and take notes. To me, Ron Gould was spouting this egregious line of lies and distortions and I was taking notes, filling up my notebook,” Weisser chuckles at a story he has told many times to listeners on both sides of the aisle. “When the Q&A came around, I stuck my hand up all insistent, like the most annoying kid in class, and just kept it up there while Gould ignored me. Till he finally said, and I quote, ‘I am not going to take your question. You’re the candidate’s spouse. If you want to question me, you do it like a man, put your name on the dotted line and run against me.” At the time Weisser did not intend to take Gould up on the challenge; until the January Democratic State Party meeting when the party’s central committee intended to let the race go unopposed, having found no candidate to announce for CD-04, a sprawling seven country Congressional district, Weisser lovingly calls the ‘Left Coast of Arizona.” “I wasn’t sure it was right for me at first, but when I realized it was Ron Gould I’d be running against I had to do it. I hadn’t been telling that story for two years for nothing!”
Wednesday’s candidate forum in Bullhead City will be held on the shores of that very “coastline,” the state’s western border, when the candidates meet in Bullhead City’s riverside Chamber of Commerce auditorium on the banks of the Colorado River. Weisser lived in Bullhead City for several years and taught junior high social studies there for ten. In addition to the long awaited Weisser-Gould face-off, the candidate forum will also include Rick Murphy, a local candidate for the GOP nomination in the upcoming Aug. 28th primary. Murphy, a longtime Bullhead City media/nightclub/fitness center mogul, is currently lagging behind Ron Gould and US Rep. Paul Gosar in the race for the Republican primary. Weisser is facing latecomer Johnnie Robinson from Pinal County, who is yet to mount a visible campaign and will not be attending. Since launching his campaign, Weisser has repeatedly reached out to Gould, offering the senator a chance to help fund the campaign he helped launch, sort of. So far the two had not crossed paths since election season began though Weisser tried to visit while in Lake Havasu (Gould’s home) for Presidents’ Day events, had discussed debate terms with Gould’s campaign staff by phone and even barely missed Gould when the two both appeared at the Chloride Heritage Days celebration earlier this month. As for that question Weisser has been waiting so long to ask? “Oh, I forgot that. I guess I could look it up, but I’ll come up with something.” Weisser grins.
The candidate forum is scheduled to start at twelve noon at the Bullhead City Chamber of Commerce, Wednesday June 20. The forecast that day is 113 in the shade, but it will be hotter in the air conditioned offices of the Chamber of Commerce when these two candidates meet at last. The forum is open to the public but seating is limited. The Chamber is in Community Park, 1251 Arizona 95 Bullhead City, AZ 86429. Call the Bullhead Chamber of Commerce (928) 754-4121 for further details about the candidate forum. For more information about the Weisser campaign, see below.
Press Advisory: Medical Card Carrying Congressional Candidate Mikel Weisser to Address AZ NORML
Contact: Mikel Weisser, 928-234-5633, email@example.com
Congressional Candidate Mikel Weisser Addresses AZ NORML
Wed. June 13, 7pm.
1800 North Litchfield Road Goodyear, AZ 85395
For event details contact: Jeni Pfister, NORML Arizona, 509-531-8544
Outspoken reform candidate for US House of Representatives (AZ-CD-04), Mikel Weisser, added another issue to his campaign’s laundry list of grievances his when he applied for and received an Arizona Medical Marijuana Card to treat chronic pain from a long time back injury. “I knew with my back I could get one any old time, but I had to decide if it was an issue I was really ready to take on. Remember, a person’s life is not a stunt, no matter what your opinion of their actions. I was diagnosed with chronic pain due to a poorly healed back, shoulder, and knee injuries. I have had repeated treatment for the back since I was first injured in 1976 during in high school marching band practice. The other two injuries are more recent, but decidedly limiting. I've visited regular doctors, specialists, physical therapists and a chiropractor over the years for the back. It was a major decision to get the medical card, but having one is the only way I can truly speak out on the issue.” Weisser revealed the news last week in a fiery speech he delivered to the monthly PHX NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) meeting.
“Our country is headed right off of a cliff and it is being driven by the people who sell the public the war on drugs, Wall Street Bailout, WMDs and Rick Santorum and they are wrong on every count. My day job is teaching kids American history and to love our country. Sooner or later we get around to discussing Prohibition. This prohibition is just like that one. Prohibitions create three things: outlaws, criminals, and prisons and those last two are the folks who make money off of the prohibition. Average citizens become outlaws when they are taught to fear and disrespect their government because of this unjust law. The cannabis prohibition inflicted on the American people for these last 75 years has been incredibly destructive to our country and it’s time to move into the 21st Century,” Weisser roared to the full house assembled at the downtown PHX art spot, The Firehouse.
In PHX for a Glendale poetry performance and an ASU/Flinn Foundation bioscience symposium for legislative and Congressional candidates, Weisser attended the monthly meeting of PHX NORML at the request of leading cannabis reform advocate/former Green Party Congressional candidate Thane Eichenhauer. “This is a huge issue, but it is NOT the only thing. It’s just one thing, the list’s a mile long. I worried about the injustice of the wars going on. The US military is like 1% of the population, three million people, so I thought, better take action on that. But then i thought about the exploited undocumented immigrants in the country and they're like eleven million, and that’s really big so I better take action on that. But tell me how many people suffer injustices every day because of this unjust law? How will we fix that? I don't know; but I am trying to find out."
In the audience the night Weisser spoke to the PHX chapter, Jeni Pfister from the state chapter office of NORML, was quick to contact the Weisser campaign to offer the invite. “It's inspirational to hear people fighting for our beliefs!” NORML, a nationally recognized non-profit 501 c3, works to promote knowledge of “the benefits of medical cannabis, the safety of recreational use and value of industrial hemp.” Founded in 1970 on a grant from the Playboy Foundation, the organization now boasts 135 chapters and over 550 lawyers. In Arizona, in addition to a state wide association there are also local chapters in Flagstaff and Tucson in addition to the Phoenix group. As a 501c3, NORML cannot offer Weisser an endorsement or direct support, but Weisser expects to receive plenty of support from individual members
Recent statistics show as many as 800,000 people a year are arrested on marijuana charges and more than half of all criminal charges are drug related. In a short speech and extended Q&A session, Weisser encouraged the crowd to take their own actions to challenge for drug law reform and other progressive issues. “The Right have been wrong in so many ways. Fiscally, in foreign relations and most of all socially, the decisions made in the name of ‘conservative values’ have been a poison on our nation. I have known for much of my life that the drug laws were wrong and causing immense misery, but like so many people I was afraid to address the issue because I didn’t want to be stigmatized. But I think America is ready for a shift. I heard in 2010 more people voted for medical marijuana that voted for Jan Brewer.” In 2010, Weisser’s wife, Beth Weisser included support for Prop 203 in her state senate campaign and debated Ron Gould over it at repeated public forums. Currently Beth Weisser is again running for the state senate seat for western AZ, now known as AZ-LD-05.
Before bringing the issue to the public, Mikel Weisser contacted several party members and close advisers about best ways to discuss his new card and the issues it creates. While Arizona is one of the seventeen states that now provide patients access to medical marijuana, federal law still holds the substance as illegal. As a candidate for US House, Weisser will directly be able to challenge and possibly revise US law, should he win election. “I generally try to get people to talk about the now and not the ‘what if.’ I was only interested in championing this issue if I felt I could make enough of a difference now no matter what and I think we have a strategy to address that.” So far, prior to receiving the card, Weisser has received wide-spread support in various Democratic audiences for taking a stand on an issue that is still for many a 3rd rail in American politics. “It is yet another example of why the Right have been wrong about our country and why they need to be stopped. The failed US drug war has failed because it is a war on America itself. Wars, education, Wall Street, they’re wrong. They’re wrong about LGBT rights, wrong on immigration and they’re wrong about weed and now is the time to tell them.”
Mikel Weisser for US Congress
4490 Sundown Drive
So-Hi, AZ 86413
Teacher Refuses to Abandon Struggling Kids for Congressional Campaign, Weisser Will Teach Summer School Social Studies
Contact: Mikel Weisser, 928-234-5633, firstname.lastname@example.org
After a solid month of trying to wait out the request, Mikel Weisser, newly certified candidate for US House of Representatives for Arizona’s brand new CD-04 seat, has accepted the position of teaching 8th grade summer school social studies for the Kingman school district when no other teacher came forward. “I didn’t see how I could say that I am a champion of education and ignore the kids wanting to learn, who are right in front of me.”
Weisser has been a social studies teacher for 11 years, but just completed his first year in the Kingman schools, after ten plus years of teaching at Bullhead Junior High, Bullhead City’s original junior high. “My degrees are in English, but social studies is too important to not teach.” Weisser credits his students as his initial encouragement for running for major public office. “They all kept saying that I should run for something, so to honor them I wanted to make sure it was for something important.”
Though he has been an outspoken advocate for a variety of progressive issues from recycling to immigration, to impeaching Bush, to the peace movement, LGBT, cannabis reform, or Civil Rights issues, this is Mikel Weisser’s first campaign for public office, aside from his work within the AEA. “I am on the AEA’s fund council for state legislative races. It is a chance to apply a little of what I learn in my own campaign to help the state’s teachers’ association and thus public education.” Weisser worked on his wife, Beth’s, 2010 campaign for AZ State Senate and learned the ropes of creating a bare-bones campaign. This year both Weissers, Beth and Mikel, are juggling campaigns, personal businesses that are life-long passions, and, full-time careers as educators.
But teaching is Mikel Weisser’s passion. “It is all the same thing, really, when you talk about poetizing, politicking and educating. Like banned author, Paulo Freire once pointed out, once you’ve educated yourself to the injustices in society, you are obligated to educate the public to it. Running for office and teaching 8th grade social studies are amazing similar.” Arizona’s 8th grade standards include a dizzying mix of time periods including the pre-US Revolution, comprehension as analysis of the US Constitution, as well as the history of its creation, AND 20th Century US History starting around 1930. “It is a smorgasbord no kid could comprehend in a year. I’ve got four weeks,” Weisser laughs.
The Weisser campaign, which qualified on May 29th, with the AZ Secretary of State’s office, as a verified candidate, based on petition signatures, originally launched at the Democrats’ January quarterly convention in Tucson, when no traditional candidates came forward to run for the newly created AZ CD-04 Congressional seat, a region Weisser fondly refers to as, “The Left Coast of Arizona.”
Weisser maintains that the classroom assignment of having one month to teach 36 failed social studies students the material they did not learn over an entire school year, is a challenge that will make him a better leader, even if he never discusses his own campaign for House of Representatives as he attempts to explain the intricacies of Congress. “Kids have a BS meter. I don’t have to talk about my stuff. America history tells its own story. They’ll decide on their own. I just want them to grow up knowing that to love one’s country means to act for it, not just wave a flag on the Fourth.”
Of note: this year, Weisser’s former 8th grade students of 2007-2008 at Bullhead Junior High graduated from Bullhead City’s Mohave High School and once again, Weisser’s former students excelled. “This year’s Mohave High School Valedictorian, June Truscow, is the fourth time a former student of mine wound up valedictorian and this year I also was involved with shaping the salutatorian. It may just be coincidence, but I know I make a difference every day and this feels like that difference manifested.”
Weisser declares he will still be maintaining his aggressively active campaign schedule, which has seen appearances in all 7 counties within his massive Congressional district that is larger than the state of Illinois. “It’s time for a big change in politics. I won’t get the change I want by waiting for it. I hope all Dems realize that this is our chance to make the change America so desperately needs.”
For more info on the Weisser campaign, contact:
Mikel Weisser for US Congress
4490 Sundown Drive
So-Hi, AZ 86413
Press Advisory: Weisser Files in Congressional Run and Will Join Payson Dems for Office Grand Opening
contact: mikel weisser, 928-234-5633
On the afternoon of May 29th, activist/educator/artist, now political candidate, Mikel Weisser, and his wife, Beth, joined dozens of other first time Democratic candidates on the 7th floor of the Secretary of State's offices at the elections dept. for photo ops and glad handing as the election qualifying period came to its end. A long-time progressive writer and protester, who bills himself as the "disorganizer of the Kingman Occupy effort," Mikel Weisser had long claimed that his political aspirations were an avenue to take his message to "a Larger Street Corner." Now Weisser has completed the petition gathering process and has been approved as a candidate for Arizona's newly created CD-04 district, a sprawling seven county a rural Congressional district the size of the state of Illinois, that Weisser jokingly refers to as "the Left Coast of AZ."
Weisser was among many freshly minted Democratic candidates who gathered to file their petitions one day ahead of the May 30th deadline. Progressive Democratic activist, 99% Spring Training instructor and Democracy For America organizer, Angel Garcia worked with a crowd of progressive candidates like the Weissers to guarantee a smooth process and ballot full of Democrats. "We need a Democrat in EVERY race and contested races whenever possible," Garcia explained. "That's how you energize a base." Among others attending the somewhat impromptu "solidarity filing" were Beth Weisser, filing for her second run for state senate and the Weisser's Mohave County slate mate, P.L. Durbin, who is running unopposed for one of the LD 05 representative slots. PHX area challengers in on the action included LD 18 state senate candidate Dr. Jane Hydrick along with her fellow LD 18 state house challengers, Darin Fisher and Corey Harris and LD 20's Tonya Norwood. Additional friends and fans also crowded the lobby of the elections office and posed for dozens upon dozens of photos commemorating the grand occasion of completing the qualifying process. "We began this quest back in January and have chased it all over the state for the past four months, this is a real victory for real people!" Weisser exclaimed.
Though Weisser had covered much of his territory earlier in the campaign, his final petitioning campaign was the biggest. Part of the process of finishing strong in the qualifying season involved organizing a final petition drive that traveled across the entire Congressional District 4 in the weekend prior the filing deadline of May 30th. Illness ultimately cut the venture short, but, during the weekend, the Weisser campaign includes stops and events in Hackberry, Valle Vista, Butler-New Kingman, So-Hi, Dolan Springs, two events in Kingman, Yucca, Lake Havasu, Parker, Yuma, Gila Bend, Buckeye, Congress, Ponderosa Park, Prescott & Chino Valley. "I regret missing out on Gila & Pinal Counties, but we've already scheduled events in the next couple of weeks to visit those places to make up for it." True to his word, this weekend, Weisser will be among the Dem candidates in Payson Saturday for the grand opening of Payson's new Democratic Headquarters at 1101 S. Beeline Highway, from 11-2.
All and all, Weisser collected over 700 petition signatures across the seven county area. With a total of 20 different campaign stops, the trip covered more than 900 miles (929) and was a return visit to each of the counties. Eager to build a district wide base, Weisser has traveled more than twenty-thousand miles so far in the campaign, spreading his message and collecting petition signatures.
Though the numbers heavily favored Weisser's base in Mohave County, Yavapai and Yuma Counties also figured prominently. Ironically, the most populous county in Weisser's district, Maricopa, had the smallest number of signatures. "After so long on the road, illness struck my super number one volunteer Perry Wickerd of Dolan Springs, so we curtailed the eastern leg of the campaign to get him home. Perry has given almost every one of his weekends to the campaign since he first hitchhiked from Dolan Springs to Kingman [about 35 miles] to catch up with me at my next event in Kingman. I've got to take care of a guy like that." With Wickerd returned safe and sound, Mikel's wife and campaign treasurer, Beth Weisser--herself a candidate for state senate in LD-05-- joined him for the final leg of the journey, the trip to Phoenix and the seventh floor of the Secretary of State's office on the state capitol grounds. "I had joined my wife in 2010 when she filed the first time for the state senate race. The staff at the desk in elections remembered us. We all laughed and took pictures. It is such an affirming experience. This is so much fun, everyone should try this."
While there is still one more day for filing, Weisser is as of yet the only declared Democratic candidate for CD-04. A native Texan and long time political writer and activist in Springfield, IL, with a newly issued MA in literary criticism and numerous publications, Weisser moved to AZ in 2001 to become a social studies teacher and later earned an M Ed from NAU in 2005. In AZ, Weisser has been an outspoken activist and online political humorist based in Mohave County and organizes literary events such as Kingman's annual week-long book festival, KABAM "("Kingman-Area-Books-Are-Magic!") throughout the western part of the state and around southern California. Weisser credits his experiences as a traveling performance poet/musician with helping him develop the skill set candidacy demands. ""In both fields you have to know how to travel cheap and how to say stuff and make it sound important," Weisser smiled. Weisser's fiery speaking style and high energy presentations have been exciting crowds around the district. "The Payson folks must've talked to the crowd over in Prescott after my last speech, because they asked me to be sure to bring my guitar. We did a sing-along to start the show out there. In Payson, I might even pull a rabbit out of a hat," he laughs.
Press Release: Walker to Hold Fundraiser for Weisser in Bullhead City
Contact: Mikel Weisser 928-234-5633
Bullhead City’s loudest poetic voice returns as the Mikel Weisser for US Congress campaign pulls into Bullhead City on Friday March 9 for the campaign’s first fundraiser: a poetry show and teen open mic featuring nationally touring spoken word artist and industrial strength rabble-rouser, Seth Walker. Walker, a Texas powerhouse of a poet, has been touring the country since 2007 and competed in both the annual Team National Poetry Slams and the Individual World Poetry Slams in addition to featuring in the nation’s most sought after venues such as L.A.’s Da Poetry Lounge, Chicago’s Green Mill and New York City’s Nuyorican. Currently Walker is on a national tour that began in Michigan and includes most of the west. The Bullhead stop is a pilgrimage of sorts. Walker had previously performed in Bullhead City at Mohave High School as part of the poetry programs Weisser created for Mohave High School from 2009-2011. Weisser also conducted a poetry program for the Bullhead City branch of Mohave Community College in addition to teaching a poetry class.
Currently Weisser works in Kingman near his home in the hillside neighborhood of So-Hi and has moved his various poetry operations to Kingman, including Kingman’s annual KABAM Slam. Walker’s benefit show will bring poetry back to Weisser’s longest running venue: the Riviera Rec Center, 2047 Commercial Way, Bullhead City, AZ. In 2009 Weisser and then Mohave High Drama teacher, Terrin Musbach, created Teen Tuesday, a day of in school workshops followed by an evening public youth oriented open mic that ran for more than three years and spent much of its time in the city’s rec center.
“I love the Riviera Rec Center,” Weisser exclaims. “It is right in the heart of the Riviera neighborhood where most of the kids at Bullhead Junior High come from. To me, this is Bullhead.”In addition to the poetry series, Weisser also created “Por La Gente” a Hispanic cultural heritage festival in 2010 in the rec center which sits in the heart of Bullhead City’s Hispanic community. For 10 years Weisser taught 8th grade social studies at Bullhead Junior High before switching to Kingman’s White Cliffs Middle School this past fall. “Seth Walker was one of the first poets we had come perform for us. He raised our little scene to a whole new level. He is an amazingly intense performer. There are kids that remember his last performance and will be thrilled to have another chance to see his work.”
The event is free to the public, though the Weisser campaign is encouraging a $3 cover for youth and a small donation for adults to pay for the hall, Seth Walker’s transportation and, of course, Weisser’s campaign for Congress (AZ’s new CD4). All ages are welcome. This will be the first of two Bullhead City fundraisers this spring. On April 15th, Tax Day, internationally revered folksinger/activist Michelle Shocked will perform a large open air concert as part of Weisser’s Tax Day Celebration in Bullhead’s Community Park from 2-8pm. “Real Americans love paying their taxes. It’s a lot like feeding your kids: they may not always do what you want, but if you love them, you’ll keep fed, right?”
For more information on the Mikel Weisser for US Congress campaign contact:
4490 Sundown Drive
So-Hi, AZ 86413
Tea Party Rebuttal:
By BRIDGET LEWISON
KINGMAN, Ariz. – Mikel Weisser, poet, social studies teacher and self-described “disorganizer” involved with the Occupy Kingman protests, is building a campaign to become the Democratic candidate for Arizona’s new 4th Congressional District.
In a recent emailing to build support, the Kingman resident describes the process that led to his decision to run, including only needing 700 signatures and $5,000 to become a candidate.
“My wife and I had been talking about it casually ever since the new district lines were released, and I realized the Democratic party had no candidates for that end of the state because it’s a guaranteed loser. I don’t care,” he writes. “I’m not trying to win an election; I’m trying to change the world here, come on. I have been protesting and writing against GOP B.S. for 20 years. This is just a bigger street corner, so I’ll get to hold up a bigger sign.”
Rather than run as a third-party candidate and further marginalize his chances, Weisser chose to run as a Democrat to offer voters a “protest candidate.” And he said he’s not only critical of the GOP, saying that plenty of Dems sell out. “So I intend to bitch about them, too. … I didn’t join the Dems to become more like them, but to make them become more like me.”
State Sen. Ron Gould (R-Lake Havasu City), Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu and U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) are running for the Republican nomination.
In 2010, Weisser’s wife, Beth, was the Democratic candidate for Legislative District 3, in which she was defeated by Gould.