My name is Mike Weissman and I’ve been resident of Aurora for more than 15 years.
I first became a candidate for state representative several years ago because I believe opportunity is not an accident. Rather it’s a result of choices that our government makes; whether we have laws on the books that reward hard work or just special interest influence; whether we invest in people or not; whether we acknowledge that any of us is prone to get knocked down at some point in our lives and might need a hand to get back up.
My story begins with my parents, and their parents, and their parents before them.
Both of my father’s parents were from families who fled religious persecution in Eastern Europe and sought refuge in America. My grandfather arrived here when he was about 4 years old, speaking no English. But he learned English, completed school, then put himself through college and medical school and went on to practice medicine for decades, often helping patients from immigrant families like his.
My mom’s dad never received formal education beyond the ninth grade, because he had to work to support his family. Both of his parents had immigrated too, escaping the legacy of the famine in Ireland, and they had many children to support.
Despite the differences in their circumstances, my grandparents were able to work hard and save and create greater opportunities for their kids – my parents – than they enjoyed themselves.
That’s how it’s supposed to work in our country – if you work hard and play by the rules, you can get ahead. That’s the American Dream.
Public service and community involvement are values I learned from my parents and grandparents at an early age. My grandmother was a tireless advocate for senior citizens in the small town where she lived. My mother volunteered for years in the public school district where I grew up. My father and both grandfathers served in the U.S. Army.
My mother worked as a librarian in the local public library, and I spent a fair bit of time there and in other libraries as a kid. My father got up before the sun every morning to go work and often came home after the sun was down. All of that impressed on me to get your facts straight and work hard, and I try to bring that approach to being our state representative for House District 36.
Whether I’m working on making our tax code more fair to working people; increasing the amount of affordable housing being built; better funding our schools; strengthening our consumer protection laws so people don’t get ripped off; or anything else, I always try to think about how our state can be a place where opportunity remains alive and available for anyone who reaches for it – like it was for my grandparents. You can read more on my legislation page about how I work to expand opportunity.