Arlene Wohlgemuth is a former Texas state representative who ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Congress in the 17th Congressional District. She is currently a registered lobbyist who works in Austin.
Wohlgemuth, a Republican, represented the 58th district in the Texas House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. During the 75th legislative session, she famously used a procedural motion to kill 52 bills in one night after a bill she supported requiring parental notification for abortions died on procedural grounds. The event, which soon became known as the "Memorial Day Massacre," drew heavy criticism from Texas Monthly and the Abilene Reporter-News, among others. But her official biography states it also earned her American Family Association Texas Legislator of the Year award and the 1997 Defender of Life Award.
The next two sessions, she was considered the floor leader for the conservatives. Texas Monthly listed her as one of the 10 worst legislators in 1997 and 1999 and as one of the 10 best in 2001 and 2003.
According to a USA Today profile, "while on the Appropriations Committee in the 2003 legislative session, she authored the overhaul of the state's health and human services, streamlining 12 agencies into five and saving the state more than $1.1 billion."
However these efforts became the root of attacks against her when Wohlgemuth ran against Democratic Rep. Chet Edwards in 2004. As blogger Charles Kuffner explained, Edwards argued that the state legislator had diminished health care for children by increasing the income requirements to enroll in the Children's Health Insurance Program. She lost 47 percent to 51 percent in the newly mapped district.