Web site urges ‘Joe the Plumber’ to run for CongressWritten by Scott McKimmy | | firstname.lastname@example.org
If two college students from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst have their way, the next U.S. congressman from Ohio’s 9th District will be none other than “Joe the Plumber.”
Derek Khanna, a junior and executive political director of the Massachusetts Alliance of College Republicans, and his friend Trevor Lair, the organization’s chairman, have launched a Web site to gather signatures to petition Samuel J. Werzulbacher to challenge Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, in 2010. Werzulbacher is the Holland-based plumber who has received national media attention for questioning Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama about his tax plan.
“I’m getting ready to buy a company that makes about $250,000, $270,000, $80,000 a year. Your new tax plan is gonna to tax me more, isn’t it?” he asked Obama during a stopover in Wurzelbacher’s neighborhood. Since, he has been praised by the right, including Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, for representing the typical small-business owner and hammered by the left for working unlicensed and owing back taxes.
Khanna said watching the clip inspired him to do some research, from which he discovered what he described as a “dreadful job” by Kaptur in representing her constituents. To express their opinion, Khanna and Lair posted a photo of Joe the Plumber at the top of the home page with the slogan, “Plunge the crap out of Washington, draft Joe Wurzelbacher, U.S. Congress Ohio 9th District.”
“I think that [Kaptur’s] indicative of an overall problem with a number of Democrats, from her all the way to Barack Obama as far as an understanding of tax and the economy,” Khanna said. “And that’s kind of what Joe signifies, bringing common grassroots values from the working world — specifically small businesses — and applying those concepts to the business community.”
The petition drive began Oct. 17, through the Web site, www.joewurzelbacher2010.com, and Khanna did not have a running tally at press time the following day nor has he been in contact with the controversial plumber. He did, however, support Wurzelbacher’s views that tax hikes prevent small businesses from growing and becoming more successful, adding “the biggest thing about Joe is what he stands for, and we shouldn’t discount that.”
“What we’re hoping to do is we’re trying to get enough support behind the petition, and once we get a lot of people to sign the petition, then we’re going to take it to the next step, which is to approach Joe,” Khanna said.
The petition drive’s goal is to collect 50,000 signatures from throughout the country. Khanna admitted the petition is an unofficial effort to show support and not a legitimate attempt to place him on the ballot. The Web site, which he and Lair funded with their own money, also caught the eye of the “Boston Herald,” which covered the petition drive.
“If you believe that keeping taxes low is the best thing for the economy and if you believe that small businesses should not be exorbitantly taxed like they are today, then I hope you will sign up and join the petition,” Khanna said.