Cedar Rapids Mayor Pro Tem Susie Weinacht was in fourth grade when she got her first taste of community service: designing bulletin boards for the school hallways. The project kept her busy and ignited a passion for community service that has yet to be extinguished.
Mental illness kept Weinacht’s mother from caring for her, she lost her father at age 7, and her grandmother raised her from age 12. These experiences, along with being a free-lunch student and a kid who fell into the foster care system in her teens, influenced her decision to run for the City Council.
“The trauma that led to my placement in foster care left an impression on me that government can help its people when public servants really care,” Weinacht said. “This experience, getting help when I most needed it, fuels my passion to make a difference, and be an advocate for children.”
Among policy issues Weinacht has championed are a synthetic drug ordinance, which allows local law enforcement to stay ahead of ever-changing substance formulas.
“The Cedar Rapids ordinance doesn’t attempt to keep up with the ever-changing chemical makeup of dangerous drugs,” Weinacht said. “Instead, it tackles the problem from a consumer fraud-and-protection approach; the offense occurs when anyone is caught misbranding or falsely labeling dangerous substances.”
Weinacht also advocated for a 2018 amendment to city zoning code lowering the minimum square footage required for houses, providing another affordable pathway to homeownership.
Weinacht was nominated as an Everyday Hero by Kimberly Reem, who says she first met Weinacht while working on a city initiative 10 years ago. Reem calls Weinacht a “big picture thinker” with the ability to work with people who disagree on issues to come together for the good of the community.
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“She is a part-time council member with full-time passion,” Reem wrote in her nomination letter.
Susie Weinacht of Cedar Rapids is nominated as an Everyday Hero for her years of work in community and public service. She and others are being featured in this occasional series honoring Everyday Heroes, presented by Fairfax State Savings Bank.