Dan Benishek

Dan Benishek


Dr. Benishek: More Must Be Done on Ebola Outbreak


Traverse City, MI:  Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) issued the following statement on the ongoing Ebola outbreak. 

“As a doctor, I understand that many in Northern Michigan are concerned about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and recent infections that have occurred in the United States.   Having studied communicable diseases, I understand the importance of containment, treatment, prevention, and public health education.

This threat of Ebola must be taken seriously, and we must do everything in our power to ensure that a full-blown outbreak does not occur within America’s borders.   I remain concerned that the federal government has been unprepared to deal with this serious threat to our public health threat, and continues to allow those potentially infected with the virus to arrive in the United States.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention needs to be actively coordinating with local hospitals in order to ensure that the medical professionals on the front lines understand and follow treatment protocols for Ebola cases, and guarantee that  best practices are followed.

At this time, I believe we must pursue all options regarding containment of the West African outbreak, including a travel ban on impacted countries and increased screening for all exposed individuals in the United States. In addition, we must continue to work with nations in West Africa to defeat this outbreak at the source.”

Dr. Benishek serves as Chairman of the House Veterans Committee Subcomittee on Health.  Prior to serving in Congress, Dr. Benishek practiced as a general surgeon for 30 years in Iron Mountain, MI. 

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Dr. Benishek Highlights the Impact of Tourism in Northern Michigan


Traverse City, MI:  Today Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) participated in a roundtable focused on the “Economic Impact of Travel and Tourism in Northern Michigan” with Brad Van Dommelen, President and CEO, Traverse City Tourism and other local business leaders.

“Travel and tourism play a large, and increasing role in the economy here in Northern Michigan.  In the First Congressional District, over 18,000 jobs are directly linked to tourism or the travel industry.  Visitors to our towns are eating at the local ice cream shops in the summer, going on snowmobile tours in the winter, filling up with gas and buying snacks at our local convenience stores, and spending money at our local hotels and restaurants while they are here. That’s a big deal,” noted Dr. Benishek, who represents Michigan’s First Congressional District.

Since coming to Congress, Dr. Benishek has worked with all stakeholders to find ways to improve the economy so that families can continue to live and work in the region.  Tourism and travel generated  $16.7 billion in economic output in Michigan last year, a figure that is predicted increase in the region. 

“Understandably, people from all over the world want to come to Northern Michigan.  I believe this is the most beautiful place on Earth.  Now we just need to make sure it stays that way, and that people who want to spend their time and money here are able to, ” continued Dr. Benishek.  “I am grateful to everyone that participated today, sharing their ideas on how we can work together and find more opportunities to grow this part of our economy. 

Dr. Benishek has supported legislation that will work to continue to encourage more visitors to come to Northern Michigan, like H.R. 4450, the “Travel Promotion Act.”   In addition, he sponsored and worked to get enacted into law legislation that protects access to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Sleeping Bear Dunes was named by ABC’s “Good Morning America” as the most beautiful place in America.  Over 1 million people visit Sleeping Bear Dunes annually, accounting for about $120 million in local spending and supporting 2,000 jobs.

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Dr. Benishek Statement on Silver Carp Discovery


Traverse City, MI:  Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) issued a statement following the announcement by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources regarding the discovery of silver carp eDNA (a type of Asian carp) in the lower Kalamazoo River.

“Protecting the Great Lakes from invasive species like the Asian carp is one of my top priorities in Congress.  Asian carp do not just represent a threat to the health of our Great Lakes, they also threaten our broader regional economy.  So many jobs here in Northern Michigan depend on the Great Lakes, and I will continue to focus on keeping invasive species out,” said Dr. Dan Benishek, co-chair and founder of the bi-partisan Congressional Invasive Species Caucus and member of the Great Lakes Task Force.

“Although the a positive test for eDNA doesn’t mean that there is an established population of silver carp in the area, it does remind all of us of the need to be more vigilant.  That is why I have continually fought in Congress to ensure that adequate funding, through mechanisms like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, remains in place to fend off invasive species that threaten our lakes.”

Michigan’s First Congressional District has over 1,600 miles of shoreline—the most in the continental United States and is the only District with shoreline on three of the five Great Lakes.  

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Dr. Benishek: Proposed Increases in Utility Rates in the UP are Unacceptable


Iron Mountain, MI:  Today Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) contacted the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regarding the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) application to FERC for approval of new cost allocations that will reflect the new local balancing authority (LBA) in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (UP). 

“The proposed increases and the process in which this is occurring is simply unacceptable.  Families, schools, businesses—basically anyone who lives and works in the UP could be looking at a big rate increase as soon as December 1, without gaining any sort of benefit,” said Dr. Benishek.  “FERC must be willing to address this issue in a manner that is fair and recognizes historical precedent and agreements regarding the shared responsibility among energy consumers in an entire system.”

Changes in cost allocations are a result of the splitting of the LBA for Wisconsin and the UP along state lines.  This may result in UP energy users being subject to approximately 99% of the cost of new cost allocations of the system-support resources. The Michigan Public Service Commission has a pending complaint with FERC regarding this decision.

“I will be working with all stakeholders and local policy makers until a solution to this problem is found,” added Dr. Benishek.  “We have to deal with the immediate rate increase, while also focusing on a long-term solution to the unique energy needs of the UP, which have been dealt an incredible blow by the increasing costs and regulatory regime forcing the closure of coal fired plants in our area.”

Dr. Benishek was born and currently lives in the Upper Peninsula.  Prior to being elected to Congress he practiced medicine for 30 years in Iron Mountain.  The letter sent to Chairman  Cheryl A. LaFleur can be found here.

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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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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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