Names: Bob VanWeerdhuizen, 78, and Pauline VanWeerdhuizen 75.
“One thing I always like to say is that I’ve had the same address, same phone number and same woman for nearly 54 years,” Bob says.
“Almost 55,” Pauline chimes in.
“My grandparents came here with nothing,” he says. “They didn’t know the language, didn’t have two dimes to put together, and they were very successful, but they worked hard.”
With the same mindset, the VanWeerdhuizens expanded their farm and made the most of their income from milk production. As soon as their family was a little more established, they became active with the Republican Party.
“I’m still against it and eventually it did pass,” Bob says. “I’m a nature guy. The Lord created us and created it quite perfectly, as far as I’m concerned. So I didn’t agree with it.”
Through the years they have knocked on hundreds of doors during campaigns, called long lists of phone numbers, and built numerous signs in support of local GOP candidates. Pauline says her favorite part of the election season is calling local people, urging them to vote and informing them about issues.
“I like what people have to say to me about their political beliefs,” she says.
Pauline came from a Democratic family whose father was involved in a union, but as a self-employed farmer she decided the Republican Party had more to offer her family. Bob, who grew up with two Republican parents, says he agrees with the GOP’s conservative values and platform.
The organization interviews candidates about their values and platforms to decide whether they align with the needs of local farmers and thus merit endorsement by the federation. Members also meet with lawmakers when the Legislature is in session to discuss issues.
Pauline was recently awarded the Alumni of the Year plaque and given a lifetime membership in Whatcom County Dairy Women for her dedicated volunteer work. She has been a member since 1961, and her daughter and granddaughters are active, too.
“Being involved keeps you thinking and keeps you young,” Pauline says. “I think (Bob) and I feel the same way on a lot of things, and it shows through. We’re in it together, and our goal was to make the farm workable.”
The VanWeerdhuizens have been retired for about 25 years, but they have no plans to retire from their political activism, although they do plan to escape the upcoming legislative session for a trip to Hawaii.
“We try to keep our fingers in the dairy industry and the betterment of it, because our family is on a working farm,” Pauline says.