Mom for Congress!

Jeanne Zindorf

Photo by Larry Dalton

Jeanne Zindorf is used to doing everything for herself. She gave birth to her kids at home, home-schooled all three of them and ran a home business for years. Last week, she filed to run for the U.S. House of Representatives—and she’s doing it by herself. Well, OK, her kids are helping, but it’s definitely a DIY thing. Until recently, the Loomis grandmother with no political experience had been managing the mocha cart at Sierra College, where she and her campaign manager (daughter Cassie Blackwell) both were students. Inspired by a famous lefty activist, Zindorf quit her job to make a long-shot bid for the House as a write-in candidate named Mom’z. On a tiny budget, she’s been handing out fliers at school, public events and peace rallies, and she’s been chatting up her modest Web site:

What are you running for?

I’m running for U.S. Representative, 4th District, against John Doolittle. I’m not on the ballot. I’m campaigning for votes, not money. My whole thing is about getting voters to vote and having the option of voting me in as an independent candidate who’s just tired of politics as usual. I have no party affiliation, and I’m a write-in.

You would like to be written in as?

Mom’z. Everybody knows Mom. Everybody loves Mom. It’s because of identification. I started so late, just trying to get my name out was going to be impossible. So, I picked the easiest thing, and I am a mom. That says it all. So, I took that and used the first letter of my last name, as in “Mom’z the word.” That’s how people can remember.

How are you funding the campaign?

This is funny. This is almost an impossibility. I quit my job, and I’m collecting unemployment, and I’m running this all off of what I get from unemployment. My whole campaign is really just word of mouth because talk is cheap, so pass it on. I will not accept any money. People have offered to contribute to my campaign, and I have refused, even though I could really use the money. I am doing all of this just on what I get from unemployment. I’m just printing fliers. When my unemployment check comes in, I run to the printer.

What voters are you courting?

The disenfranchised. The people who haven’t voted because they’re disillusioned with the whole process. I want them to cast a vote for something instead of not voting or voting against something. Kids are my main concern because they’re our new voters and they’re starting out with a disillusioned idea of what politics are. I’ve gone to kids to try to get them to register to vote and get excited about voting.

Why should anyone vote?

Because that’s the most powerful weapon we have to be able to change something. The voters are the boss. They hire and fire their representatives, and I don’t think the voters really realize how important they are.

How did you get the idea to do this?

I attended Michael Moore’s book signing in Grass Valley in April when he was signing his book Stupid White Men. And someone asked, “If we want to get involved, what do we do?” Michael Moore suggested, “Run for office,” so I took that to heart.

Are you disillusioned?

Oh, yes, I am positively, absolutely furious with Congress. In particular, the Patriot Act they signed and the resolution giving the president all of our power to declare war. They turned it over and gave it to the president—without reading it! With the Patriot Act, out of all of our representatives, nobody read it! And the one person who did read it did not sign it. I want to get in there and maybe just speak as I would. I’m running because I’m mad at ’em like everybody else.

What’s the first thing you would do on the Hill?

Ban legalese in Congress, making a bill that would say no bill could ever be presented in a foreign language. Legalese is a foreign language, and nobody understands it except lawyers. Our Constitution is written in plain English. Bills coming out of Congress now are three or four hundred pages long. Who can understand that? And being able to understand what’s going on, I think, is critical to being able to run a country. My thing is keeping it simple.

Do you think you can win?

I don’t know how effective I’m going to be, but I believe it’s possible. If the voters decide to do this, they can do it. I wouldn’t have started this if I didn’t think there was a need. I won’t know until November 5, but I have tremendous faith in people.