Dan Benishek

Dan Benishek


Dr. Benishek Authors Legislation to Research Toxic Exposure for Military Families


WASHINGTON, DC:  Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) today announced he has introduced the Toxic Exposure Research Act, H.R. 5484, with Congressman Mike Honda (CA-17) to establish within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) a national center for research into the health conditions experienced by the descendants of veterans exposed to toxic substances.

“Having had the opportunity to treat our veterans as a doctor at a VA hospital for nearly 20 years, I understand that not all the injuries our returning service members suffer from are immediately evident.  Wounds from exposure to toxic chemicals can have lifelong and generational effects, the impacts of which we are still determining today, “ said Dr. Benishek. “This bipartisan bill will help address the need to better understand the toxins that many of our heroes have been exposed to, and ensure we focus on understanding the effect exposure may have on their descendants.”

The Toxic Exposure Research Act will allow the VA to research the effect of exposure to toxic substances on the descendants of our veterans.  Veterans seeking care for symptoms of toxic exposure are frequently misdiagnosed due to a lack of scientific understanding, and the research the VA has conducted on suspected birth defects related to toxic exposure is severely limited. The bill would also create a national outreach campaign on potential long-term health effects of exposure to toxic substances by members of the Armed Forces and their descendants.

“The Toxic Exposure Research Act is an important piece of bi-partisan legislation that will help us keep our promise to our veterans.  While we know that our servicemen and women have been exposed to toxic substances while fighting for our country, we also know that many of their children have consequently suffered with various forms of birth defects,” said Congressman Honda. “We need to know the full effects of such toxic exposures. Through the bill’s establishment of a national research center, the VA can determine what effect toxins like Agent Orange have had on the children and grandchildren of our veterans who were exposed.

The Toxic Exposure Research act is the House companion to S.2738, identical legislation introduced by Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT) and Senator Jerry Moran (KS).  The legislation is supported by the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) and AMVETS.

Dr. Benishek has been a leader in advocating for reform at the VA since coming to Washington in 2011. Dr. Benishek spent 20 years working as a surgeon at the Iron Mountain VA Hospital.  He is the only member from Michigan on the Veterans Committee and is Chairman of the Health Subcommittee. His "Demanding Accountability for Veterans Act" passed the House unanimously in June.

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Dr. Benishek: Keep Your Health Plan If You Like It


Washington, DC – Today Dr. Benishek (MI-01) praised the passage of H.R. 3522, the Employee Health Care Protection Act, which would allow more Northern Michigan families to keep their health plans.

“As a doctor, I know that individuals and families all have different health needs and must have the flexibility to find a health plan that works best for them.  However, since the implementation of Obamacare, too many Northern Michigan families have lost the health plan they want even though the President promised you could keep it,” said Dr. Benishek.  “Instead they are facing higher premiums, fewer choices and less coverage.”

H.R. 3522 would allow plans available on the group market in 2013 to continue to be offered through 2018, protecting workers from upcoming mandates that will cause plan cancellations.  Supporters of the bill include the National Federation of Independent Businesses and the National Association of Manufacturers.

“Obamacare continues to be bad medicine for patients, families, small businesses, and our economy. This bipartisan and common sense bill is another step towards helping those that are going to lose their insurance this fall due to Obamacare by providing small businesses and employees the ability to keep their plans if they want to,” added Dr. Benishek.

Dr. Benishek served as a general surgeon in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in a private practice since 1983, while also working part-time at the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain for twenty years.  He is currently Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health.  

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Benishek Statement on September 11th Anniversary


WASHINGTON, DC: Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) released the following statement on the 13th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States:

“Thirteen years ago we lost many of our fellow Americans in a senseless act of terror. We will never forget the tragic events of September 11, 2001, when our nation was attacked and terrorists claimed the lives of over 3,000 of our citizens. As we move forward, we must continue to remain united in our efforts to root out terror, while protecting the people of this great nation. On behalf of the First District I would like to thank all of our first-responders and men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line every day to ensure our safety. May God bless our great nation and those who lost loved ones on this day, as well as those who are currently fighting for our freedom abroad.” 

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Benishek Supports Local Small Business & Farmers


WASHINGTON, DC:  Congressman Dan Benishek (MI-01) issued the following statement following passage of today, H.R. 5078, “Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act,” a bill designed to stop the Obama Administration from implementing a proposed rule that would expand the jurisdiction of federal bureaucrats over state and local waters.

“I was pleased to support this bipartisan legislation today that will work to stop the federal takeover of our state and local water jurisdictions.  Once again, the Obama Administration is favoring Washington bureaucrats over hardworking farmers and small business owners,” noted Dr. Benishek.

The legislation, which was supported by the Michigan Farm Bureau, Michigan Pork Producers, United States Chamber of Commerce, local county governments, and many others, is designed to stop the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) from implementing a proposed rule that would greatly expand the jurisdiction of the “Waters of the United States.”  Instead, the EPA and Corps would be directed to work with state, local, and tribal governments to ensure that any new rule would meet the needs of citizens.

“I have heard from small businesses and farmers throughout Northern Michigan about this proposed rule.  Implementing this rule “as-is” could be devastating to our local economy, which is why I supported a commonsense solution that would force Washington bureaucrats to listen to the needs of those who are creating jobs in Northern Michigan and actually producing the food we eat and building the homes that families grow up in.”

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Dr. Benishek Applauds Expansion of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary


TRAVERSE CITY, MI:  Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) today applauded the final rule to expand the boundary of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary (TBNMS).   The new boundary would increase the size of the sanctuary from 448 square miles to 4,300 square miles and extend protection to 47 additional known historic shipwrecks.

“The expansion of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary was done the right way, by using the input of local stakeholders to ensure that the needs and interests of the hard working people in Northern Michigan were addressed.  The Great Lakes are part of our way of life in Northern Michigan, accounting for so many jobs and recreational enjoyment by residents and visitors,” said Dr. Benishek, the only member of the Michigan delegation on the House Committee on National Resources.

Thunder Bay was originally designated as a national marine sanctuary in 2000 and is managed jointly by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the State of Michigan.  The primary purpose of the sanctuary is to provide protection for the nationally-significant shipwrecks and maritime heritage sites located within its waters.  During initial drafts, concerns were raised about the inclusion of port city boundaries, whether ballasting was an allowable activity within the sanctuary and tribal fishing rights.  All of these concerns were addressed, which led to this final draft gaining the support of all local stakeholders.

“It’s great that we were able to work with local stakeholders, attend a hearing in Rogers City on the expansion, and help ensure that their voices were heard and the needs of Northern Michigan were met.  Helping to protect the Great Lakes will always be a top priority of mine and I will continue to work to accomplish this goal,” added Dr. Benishek. 

Dr. Benishek serves as co-chair and founder of the House Invasive Species Caucus, and is a Member of the Great Lakes Task Force.  Since being elected to Congress in 2010, Dr. Benishek has made the health and infrastructure of the Great Lakes a top priority.


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Dr. Benishek: Affordable Energy is Crucial for Jobs and Families


TRAVERSE CITY, MI: Today, Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) concluded his “Energy Tour of Northern Michigan” at Camp Grayling, in Grayling, Michigan. Dr. Benishek visited power, hydro-power, solar, wind, and bio-mass plants around the First Congressional District this month to learn from leaders in energy innovation in partnership with the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum.

“Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with the business owners, military leaders, and elected officials that are dealing with energy issues on a daily basis. There is no question that Michigan’s energy future and energy security are of paramount importance – families and jobs are all dependent on energy being there when we need it, for a price we can afford. It's time for us to embrace energy production at home. We have the resources to harness many types of energy here in Northern Michigan, which means more jobs, a stronger economy, and less waste,” said Dr. Benishek, the only member of the Michigan delegation serving on the House Natural Resources Committee.

Larry Ward, the Executive Director of the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum stated, “The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is grateful to Congressman Benishek and his staff for partnering with us on our Northern Michigan "All of the Above Energy Tour".  Energy policy impacts everyone and Michigan’s investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency means the opportunity for more jobs and economic development. Homegrown energy production means greater energy security and less dependence on the Middle East for foreign oil. Whether it’s hydro, bio-mass, wind, solar or natural gas; companies, entrepreneurs, innovators and contractors are working with communities across Northern Michigan, creating solutions to local energy issues. On behalf of the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum and our Leadership Council, I want to thank Congressman Benishek for taking the time to meet with energy industry leaders who are truly making a difference for Michigan's energy future." 

Dr. Benishek has been a vocal supporter of increased energy production in Northern Michigan, which will lead to more jobs and a stronger economy. He is currently the only member of the Michigan delegation serving on the House Committee on Natural Resources.

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Dr. Benishek Honors Upper Peninsula Veteran of the Year


ESCANABA, MI:  Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) today released the following statement after attending the award ceremony for Sergeant James Edberg, a Northern Michigan resident who was named the "2014 Upper Peninsula Veteran of the Year" by the U.P. Veterans' Committee:


"Today, I was deeply honored to take part in the award ceremony for Sergeant James Edberg, who was recognized as the 2014 Upper Peninsula Veteran of the Year.  As a former VA surgeon, I have seen many heroes, but Sergeant Edberg is extraordinary because his selfless efforts for this nation did not end after he left active duty in the U.S. Army.  He has continued to serve our country as a mentor to our veterans.  He has dedicated his life to serving our veterans and their families in communities throughout Northern Michigan," said Dr. Benishek, a lifelong resident of Northern Michigan.


Sergeant Edberg served in the B Company's 2/5th 1st Calvary Division of the United States Army. He bravely served our nation in Vietnam and was awarded a Purple Heart, Bronze Star Medal, Republic of Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Air Medal, and Combat Infantryman's Badge. He is receiving this award for dedicating his life to our veterans, having served on Michigan's Veterans Trust Fund for 11 years as well as being the Commander of Post 4803 for 29 years, Sergeant Edberg has gone above and beyond in serving our veterans in Northern Michigan.


"Sergeant Edberg's defense of our freedoms serves as an inspiration for all of us who call Northern Michigan home.  He and his family should be deservedly proud of this award.  He has undoubtedly earned it.  On behalf of the citizens of Michigan's First District, we thank Sergeant Edberg for his service, sacrifice, and continued patriotism in service to our citizens," added Dr. Benishek.


Earlier this week, Dr. Benishek announced his "Veterans Listening Tour" of Michigan's First Congressional District, where he will be visiting with veterans, veterans' groups and veteran health facilities. In addition, he will be leading a field hearing of the House Veteran's Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Health in Traverse City on August 27, 2014. Dr. Benishek is the only member of the Michigan delegation serving on the House Veterans' Affairs Committee and is a former surgeon who worked at the Oscar G Memorial VA Hospital in Iron Mountain for 20 years.

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Dr. Benishek Works to Bring Jobs to Northern Michigan


MENOMINEE, MI: Today, Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) celebrated the expansion of Anchor Coupling Inc. in Menominee, Michigan. Anchor Coupling is a subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc. and will be expanding operations with the creation of 120 new full time jobs over the next year in Northern Michigan.


"It's great news that Anchor Coupling is able to expand and bring more full-time jobs to Northern Michigan. Thanks to companies like Caterpillar and Anchor Coupling, more residents of our area will be able to stay and work here in the U.P. Anchor Coupling is a leader in American innovation. We need to continue working with leaders in Northern Michigan, such as Caterpillar, to improve the economy and bring jobs back to this area," said Dr. Benishek, a lifelong resident of Northern Michigan.


Anchor Coupling is a subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc., and was established in 1978 in the City of Menominee. Anchor Coupling produces hydraulic hose assemblies for Caterpillar machines in addition to other original equipment manufacturers. The company plans to expand by purchasing a building adjacent to its existing facility in Menominee by investing up to over $9 million.


"Vocational education is incredibly important up here in Northern Michigan and Anchor Coupling works with local schools and communities to provide the training needed to secure a full time job with the company. I am so proud of the work that Anchor Coupling and Caterpillar is doing here in Menominee by offering internships and scholarships to further these efforts and I look forward to working with them on future educational endeavors," added Dr. Benishek.


Vocational education and proper job training has been a top priority for Dr. Benishek during his time in Congress. Dr. Benishek has hosted educational round table meetings in Northern Michigan with educators and job providers, and continues to explore proposals to promote vocational education in the First District so that individuals have the proper training to secure the jobs available.

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Dr. Benishek Supports Preservation of Working Forests


TRAVERSE CITY, MI: Today, Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) met with leaders in land conservation and preservation in Houghton, Michigan at a Forest Legacy Program roundtable. The Forest Legacy Program (FLP) is a voluntary program between private landowners, states, and the federal government.   The goal of the program is to protect environmentally sensitive areas, encourage the use of conservation easements, and utilize sustainable practices in working forests.

"Ensuring our working forests are protected and well managed up here in Northern Michigan is crucial as we move forward with creating sustainable energy sources. The Pilgrim River Watershed is a great example of conservation efforts that will increase recreation and education in the U.P, while working to create sustainable forestry and watershed protection. These efforts are also important to the local economy, with the creation of local forest products as well as increased tourism. It's great that we are able to support and work with the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to make sure that the Pilgrim Watershed has funding to confine their conservation efforts," said Dr. Benishek, the only member of the Michigan delegation serving on the House Committee on Natural Resources and House Agriculture Committee.

Areas like the Pilgrim River Watershed are planned with conservation in mind, which allow for the protection of local ecosystems and sustainable management of a working forest, including timber production, public recreation, and educational programs.  The program is voluntary in nature, and helps states develop and carry out their conservation plans.

"The Forest Legacy Program can create a win-win situation for a project like ours in the Pilgrim River Watershed.  This federal program provides grants for working forest easements with funds from offshore oil and gas lease fees.  With this type of easement the land remains in private ownership and sustainable timber harvests will continue supporting our forest products economy.  At the same time, the easement legally assures perpetual public access for recreation and protects vital habitats, rivers, and scenic views.  These combined goals are what the Forest Legacy Program is all about," said Bill Leder, the President of the Copper Country Chapter of Trout Unlimited.

Dr. Benishek has been an avid supporter of increased funding for LWCF throughout the appropriations process this year, and has also supported the Forest Legacy Program in the 2014 Farm Bill.

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Dr. Benishek Announces Veterans Listening Tour


WASHINGTON, DC: Today Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) announced that during August he will be visiting with veterans, veterans' groups and veteran health facilities throughout Michigan's First District.  In addition, he will be leading a field hearing of the House Veteran's Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Health in Traverse City on August 27, 2014.     

"As a former VA surgeon, I have seen firsthand the heroism and bravery that defines our service members. I have also seen the mismanagement and bureaucracy that our veterans deal with on a daily basis at the VA. One of my top priorities in Washington has been to ensure our veterans receive the care they need and deserve. By listening to and learning from veterans across our district, I have gained a greater understanding of the needs of veterans in Northern Michigan. Working towards solutions to make access to care easier and affordable for veterans in Northern Michigan is something I will continue to work on moving forward," said Dr. Benishek, a surgeon who worked at the Oscar G Memorial VA Hospital in Iron Mountain for 20 years.

To cap off the veterans listening tour, Dr. Benishek will be chairing a field hearing of the House Veterans Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Health in Traverse City.  The hearing will be held at VFW Post #2780 at 10:00 am on August 27.  Focusing on access to health care for rural and Native American veterans, the hearing will give veterans in Northern Michigan the opportunity to hear directly from VA senior leadership on the issues that matter to them. 

"Our veterans fought for us abroad and now they are fighting to get the care they need at home and that is unacceptable. All issues veterans face up here in Northern Michigan are important and it has been my mission to work towards helping those who fought for our freedom. I am looking forward to being able to hold this hearing so that we can further understand the unique issues facing Native American and rural veterans," added Dr. Benishek.

Dr. Benishek recently worked with his colleagues in the House and Senate on the Conference Committee that compromised on legislation to provide immediate care to veterans who need it the most. The bill tackles both short and long-term problems at the VA.  Any veteran who has waited longer than 30 days to see a doctor or who lives more than 40 miles from a facility will be able to seek care from a private sector health care provider. The reform will also initiate a private sector assessment of the VA to determine changes that need to be made to create a more efficient system.

Dr. Benishek kicked off his tour at a veterans lunch in Marquette on August 4, 2014, where he met with veterans and discussed how the new VA reform bill will be affecting those in Northern Michigan.

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Contact Information

514 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-4735
Fax 202-225-4744

Dan Benishek’s story is like that of many people from Northern Michigan.  Dan was born in Iron River, Michigan.  His family didn’t have much when he was growing up, and his father was killed in a mining accident when he was only 5 years old.  After his father’s death, Dan’s mother, with the help of family, raised Dan and his brother, Tim.

As a boy, Dan worked in his grandmother’s business—the Iron River Hotel.  Dan made beds, hauled beer, and cleaned the spittoons.  His grandmother paid him $10 a week for his efforts, but he had to save it for the future.

After Dan graduated from West Iron High School in 1970, he went on to earn a B.S. in biology from the University of Michigan in 1974.  Dan graduated from Wayne State Medical School in 1978 and completed a Family Practice internship in Flint at St Joseph’s Hospital.  He has served as a general surgeon in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in a private practice since 1983. He has worked part-time at the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain for the past twenty years.

Dan worked as a general surgeon in Iron Mountain for nearly 30 years and raised his family in Iron Mountain.  Along the way, it never occurred to him to get into politics, let alone run for Congress.  But, like many people in Northern Michigan, Dan just got tired of seeing career politicians in Washington waste taxpayer dollars our nation doesn’t have on bills they didn’t even read.

Since coming to Congress, Dan has been fighting every day to create jobs in Northern Michigan, improve services to our veterans, and renew the promise of the American Dream for our children, grandchildren and future generations.

Dan is an avid hunter and fisherman and a proud member of the NRA and the GOA.

Dan and his wife Judy live near Crystal Falls, Michigan.  They have five children and four grandchildren.  Prior to being sworn into Congress on January 5, 2011, Dr. Benishek had never sought nor held any previous public office.

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