BOWLING GREEN, Ohio -- Democrat Robin Weirauch is strutting her blue collar roots -- she used to work beside her mother in a factory -- and has been heating up the anti-NAFTA rhetoric. Now she's pledging a crackdown against undocumented aliens and says she's in the camp that favors "absolutely no amnesty, no driver's licenses and no federal benefits for illegal immigrants."
[UPDATE: 12:20 PM est -- Weirauch is traveling around NW Ohio today and in speeches she is targeting what she has called the "Taft Tax," the sales tax increase sought by former GOP Gov. Bob Taft that was the biggest tax hike in the state's history. "To create a new direction for Ohio, we need new leaders with new priorities. We remember all too well what the politics of the past brought. Career politicians gave us the Taft Tax, which was the largest tax increase in Ohio history in order to pay for budgets that provided millions for the special interests. Worst of all, those same career politicians told middle class Ohioans to pay for it all." Jeff Coryell is on the road with Robin and Ohio Daily Blog is carrying his reports.]
Weirauch is running against Republican State Rep. Bob Latta for the vacant seat in Ohio's 5th Congressional District, which covers the conservative northwest corner of the state. The special election is Dec. 11. Latta voted for Taft's sales tax increase. The district covers a patch of political turf that has not been held by a Democrat since 1938. Weirauch has fashioned a message that looks to be in tune in a region filled with farms and small factories that are being squeezed by globalization, high energy costs and an economy that seems to have left much of the Midwest behind. On immigration, Weirauch -- who is campaigning today with Gov. Ted Strickland -- is running to the right of many who come from her party's Big City urban districts. She says family budgets in rural Ohio are being stretched beyond the breaking point as local economies wither.
"Unfortunately, the politicians in Washington have worked harder on behalf of the special interests than the working families of Northwest Ohio."
On her campaign blog Weirauch writes that she considers illegal immigrants a threat to Ohio's rural economy. She says they are part-and-parcel with what she calls foreign trade agreements fashioned by corporate lobbyists that don't have the interests of U.S. workers at their core. Weirauch writes:
"Making matters worse, Washington isn't enforcing our immigration laws, allowing big companies to hire illegal aliens without being penalized. That isn't right. Washington has failed to fix America's broken immigration system and hardworking Northwest Ohioans are paying the price. Washington needs to enforce our immigration laws and hold employers liable when they break them. We must secure our borders and make sure that illegal immigrants aren't rewarded for breaking the law . . .
"We've had enough of politicians who send our jobs overseas, support trade agreements that encourage illegal immigration, and fail to enforce immigrations laws."