Guest Column: Wanda Rohl: A people’s choice for Congress

By Bill Weiss

For nearly 20 years, voters in the 16th Congressional District have had little choice but to vote for representatives hand-picked by the major political parties. This year, things are different. For the first time in at least two decades, we have a candidate who was not selected by a political party but by the will of the people of the district.

This past April, when it was clear that the Democratic Party would not oppose 11th District Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who had just beat Rep. Don Manzullo for the16th District seat, citizens of the newly-redistricted 16th met in DeKalb, Ill., to draft their own candidate to run under the Democratic banner. April 21, that citizens’ convention selected Wanda Rohl, Ottawa, Ill., as their candidate. In the whirlwind five weeks that followed, grassroots volunteers hit the streets and gathered three times the number of signatures necessary to clinch a spot on the 2012 ballot.

Unlike her well-funded opponent, Rohl is no career politician, and she has received no funding from either the state or national Democratic parties. Hers is a truly grassroots campaign.

Rohl’s life story is one of the farm life, raising a family, surviving a tragedy, and fighting back through a tortuous rebuilding process after an ATV accident nearly took her life. It is these experiences that drive Rohl to seek public office. She is driven by a deep-seated passion to give back to the community and nation that has given her so much. Hers is a story worth hearing. Hers is a candidacy worth a look.

To learn more about Wanda Rohl, visit

Editor’s note: Wanda Rohl will be in Rockford to speak about her plans to bring “common sense solutions to Washington, D.C.,” from 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, June 28, at the East Branch Rockford Public Library.

Bill Weiss is a resident of Kirkland, Ill.

From the June 27-July 3, 2012, issue

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