Dan Benishek

Dan Benishek

MICHIGAN's 1st DISTRICT

Dr. Benishek Meets with Veterans Service Organization Leaders

2015/01/22

Washington, D.C. - Following the announcement of Dr. Dan Benishek's Veterans Action Initiative, the Congressman hosted a roundtable meeting with representatives from many of the country's largest Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs).  The topics of discussion included improving the quality and cost of VA care, ensuring proper oversight of VA activity, and maintaining the progress made on wait times and accountability. 

"Veterans know best how to improve our VA system.  That's why I take every opportunity to gain their insights and to find ways to incorporate their experiences into legislative action that we take in Congress," said Dr. Benishek.  "We made great progress last year in passing the Choice Act.  I am committed to ensuring that we build on that progress in this Congress."

Dr. Benishek spent 20 years as a VA doctor treating patients at the Iron Mountain VA facility.  As Chairman of the Veterans Health Subcommittee, he played an integral role in creating and helping to pass the landmark reform legislation, leading many of the hearings that uncovered the VA's incompetency.  Dr. Benishek was also successful in getting a new law enacted based on an idea from a local veterans that provides Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) greater access to federal surplus property, such as spare vehicles and equipment, for use at their facilities.

 

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Dr. Dan Benishek Announces his Veterans Action Initiative: Helping Heroes, Here at Home

2015/01/22

Washington, D.C. - Dr. Dan Benishek is announcing today the start of his Veterans Action Initiative, a comprehensive program and legislative agenda to help serve veterans in Michigan's First District and throughout the country.  The Veterans Action Initiative is designed to provide veterans the opportunity to learn about and gain greater access to the benefits that they have earned after serving our country.  In addition, it is intended to allow Dr. Benishek the opportunity to hear directly from veterans about the issues they are facing and to monitor the implementation of the historic VA reform law that was enacted last year to get veterans off waiting lists and access to the care they need.  

"Veterans put their lives on the line to protect our nation.  In return, we have an obligation to ensure that every veteran receives the care and benefits they have earned upon returning home," said Dr. Benishek.  "Over the next two years my Veterans Action Initiative will be focused on ensuring that this is happening while also finding solutions to the problems veterans continue to face when dealing with the bureaucracy at the VA," Benishek continued.

The Veterans Action Initiative currently includes:

  • A series of veterans clinics throughout the district to give veterans direct access to an array of veterans benefit organizations and experts. 
  • The expansion of the Veterans Advisory Council, a group of veterans from all age groups and service branches who advise Congressman Benishek on issues affecting veterans.
  • A goal to visit all Veteran Service Organizations in the First District.
  • Continued visits to all VA facilities in the First District and regular meetings with local VA officials.
  • "Hearing from our Heroes" veterans roundtables to discuss current issues and events important to our veterans.
  • Introduction of legislation to continue to hold VA officials accountable and legislation to address the high rate of suicide among our returning soldiers.
  • Dedicated page on his official website that will serve a central source for all information on veterans benefits.  The site will also include updates on legislative efforts that Dr. Benishek is advancing as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Veterans Health

"After serving veterans for twenty years as a doctor at the Iron Mountain VA hospital, I have been able to continue that service in a different form as a Member of Congress and Chairman of the Veterans Health Subcommittee," said Dr. Benishek.  "As Chairman, it is an honor to work directly with Northern Michigan veterans and their families, and it is also a responsibility that I hold dear, because I am in the unique position to advance legislation that is critical to improving veterans care," Benishek continued.  "We will continue to fight for our veterans and ensure they have access to the best care without ever being subject to bureaucratic wait lists and incompetence."

Dr. Benishek spent 20 years as a VA doctor treating patients at the Iron Mountain VA facility.  As Chairman of the Veterans Health Subcommittee, he played an integral role in creating and helping to pass the landmark reform legislation, leading many of the hearings that uncovered the VA's incompetency.  Dr. Benishek was also successful in getting a new law enacted based on an idea from a local veterans that provides Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) greater access to federal surplus property, such as spare vehicles and equipment, for use at their facilities.

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Dr. Benishek Responds to State of the Union Address

2015/01/21

Washington, D.C.- Following the President's State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 20, 2015, Dr. Dan Benishek released the following statement:

"What I heard from the President tonight was a plan to continue the top-down, Washington centered approach of tax, spend and regulate that has failed to produce positive results for seven years.  In Congress, I am focused on what is important to  families in Northern Michigan - growing the economy, having good paying jobs, making health care more affordable, and helping our veterans receive the care they've earned.  I remain hopeful that the President will come to the table in good faith to work with our nation's new Congress to develop solutions to address the many challenges we face."

Dr. Benishek is currently serving his third term in the US House of Representatives.  "As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Veterans Health, I know for a fact that there a many bills where Democrats and Republicans can work together to get something positive done for our heroes." Benishek added, "I look forward to working with the President, especially when it comes to improving care for our nation's veterans."

Dr. Benishek was born in Iron River and graduated from Wayne State Medical School in 1978. He 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 the past twenty years. 

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Dr. Benishek Backs Homeland Security Funding Bill

2015/01/15

The House voted today to fund the Department of Homeland Security for the Fiscal Year 2015.  Congressman Benishek said the following about the bill:

“This legislation increases border security, enforces existing immigration laws, and keeps our country prepared for natural disasters and terrorist attacks.  Additionally, the bill defunds the President’s executive actions on immigration and begins the process of fixing our broken immigration system.  It is my hope that the Administration will now come to the table and work with the American people’s representatives to keep our country safe and our border strong.”   

The Homeland Security Appropriations bill includes $39.7B in discretionary funding for the Department and creates the largest operational force at our border in American history.  Immigrations and Customs enforcement funding was increased by $689M and Customs and Border Protection received a $118M increase.  Additionally, the bill increases transparency at DHS and addresses shortfalls in Secret Service protection for American officials.  

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Dr. Benishek Releases Statement on U.P. Energy Agreement

2015/01/13

WASHINGTON, DC: In response to the release of an agreement addressing a potential increase in Upper Peninsula energy rates, Congressman Benishek said the following:

"I am pleased that progress continues to be made in finding a long term energy solution for the Upper Peninsula, and I also commend Governor Synder for the work he has done on this issue.  Since coming to Congress, I've supported and championed multiple efforts to make energy affordable for the citizens of Northern Michigan.  Residents of the Upper Peninsula have been facing the threat of significant rate increases for over a year, and I introduced legislation and have been working with all stakeholders, federally and in the state of Michigan, to prevent this from happening.  I am pleased that a solution to the problem is finally in sight."

In November of 2014, Dr. Benishek, called on FERC to delay the proposed rate increase.  In the 113th Congress, he introduced the "POWER ACT of 2014," bipartisan legislation that works to protect consumers from proposed rate increases.  Throughout this process, Dr. Benishek has been meeting with all stakeholders, from rural cooperatives, ratepayers, and local and federal officials to determine the best long term solution.

Dr. Benishek was born in Iron River and graduated from Wayne State Medical School in 1978. He 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 the past twenty years.

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Dr. Benishek Introduces Reauthorization of Great Lakes Funding

2015/01/09

WASHINGTON, DC: Today, January 8th, 2015, Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) reintroduced the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Act of 2015, a bill which passed the House of Representatives in the last Congress but was not acted on by the previous Senate.   This bill would formally authorize funding for the GLRI at $300 million annually from 2016 to 2020. Dr. Benishek is an original cosponsor and has continually fought to fund initiatives to restore the Great Lakes.

"The Great Lakes are vital to our way of life in Northern Michigan.  Fully funding GLRI will give local communities across our district the ability to effectively combat invasive species, clean up local beaches, and restore local watersheds," said Dr. Benishek, the only member of the Michigan delegation on the House Natural Resources Committee.

The GLRI will continue to address invasive species and pollution, restore and clean up toxic hot spots along the shores, and preserve natural wildlife habitats.  Currently, GLRI funds support projects like the Grand Traverse Bay Watershed Protection Project and the Beaver Island Archipelago Invasive Species Initiative.

"I am confident that in the 114th Congress, we can continue the important work of ensuring that the GLRI funds critical projects throughout Northern Michigan - from Traverse City to the Western UP - so we can keep our Great Lakes clean and healthy," added Dr. Benishek.

Dr. Benishek serves a 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. 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[1].

[1] Harvard Institute of Politics, http://www.ioportal.org/

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Dr. Benishek Supports Legislation to Restore 40 Hour Work Week

2015/01/08

Washington, DC-  On Thursday, January, 8, 2015,  Dr.  Benishek voted in favor of the "Save American Workers Act," legislation that will reestablish a full time work week as 40 hours under the Affordable Care Act. This bipartisan legislation passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 252 to 172, and now awaits consideration in the Senate.

"In Northern Michigan, we know that 40 hours a week is full time work. I've personally met with both business owners and workers in Michigan who've told me that the 30 hour rule impacts their ability to earn.  Businesses were forced to reduce hours, and workers were making less.  This is a common sense fix that will allow families in Northern Michigan to earn more and businesses to hire more workers," Benishek said. 

"I introduced this bill with my colleagues because I have talked to families who have had their hours cut.  I've seen firsthand how damaging these rules can be, and I look forward to focusing on commonsense, bipartisan changes like these so that Northern Michigan can get back to work," noted Rep. Benishek, who represents Michigan's First Congressional District.

The "Save American Workers Act" has been endorsed by a broad coalition of organizations nationally and in the state of Michigan, including the Chamber of Commerce, the National Restaurant Association, the American Farm Bureau, and the Michigan Grocers Association. 

Dr. Benishek was born in Iron River and graduated from Wayne State Medical School in 1978. He 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 the past twenty years.

 

Click here for a video of Dr. Benishek's Floor Speech.

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Dr. Benishek Works to Support Veterans in Michigan

2015/01/07

Washington, D.C. - Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) released the following statement regarding the House's passage of the Hire More Heroes Act.

"I'm proud to co-sponsor this legislation in the 114th Congress, and I am pleased to see that this bill is one of our first priorities this year.  Veterans have put their lives on the line in service to our country.  In return, we should ensure that they have the opportunity for gainful employment when they return home," said Benishek, a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee.  "This bill cuts through the bureaucratic red tape to help vets get good paying jobs in Northern Michigan."

The Hire More Heroes Act of 2015 addresses a key provision of the Affordable Care Act, which requires businesses with more than 50 full-time (or equivalent) employees to provide employer-sponsored insurance.  Under the current law, veterans who already receive health care insurance from the VA or TRICARE must be counted toward the employer mandate.  This legislation exempts these veterans from being included in this count.  The Hire More Heroes Act of 2015, which passed the House unanimously, provides an incentive for business owners to hire veterans.  The bill now awaits further consideration in the United States Senate.   

Congressman Benishek was born and raised in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, where he served as a doctor, both at the Oscar G. Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center and in private practice.  In Congress, he chairs the Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health where he works to ensure that all veterans receive timely access to quality, affordable care. 

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Dr. Benishek Sworn In to 114th Congress on January 6, 2015

2015/01/06

Washington, DC - Dr. Dan Benishek was sworn in to the 114th Congress on Tuesday afternoon, January 6, 2015.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) conducted a ceremonial swearing-in for Rep. Benishek following the oath of office on the floor of the House of Representatives.

"I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to represent the hardworking families and individuals that live here in Northern Michigan.  Over the past four years we have made some significant strides -from working to improve veterans' care to protecting our Great Lakes to providing our farmers the support they need - but our work is not complete.  In the 114th Congress, we must go even farther to ensure that our veterans get the care they have earned, to grow our economy and create jobs here in Northern Michigan, and to continue to improve our health care system," said Dr. Benishek.

Congressman Benishek was born and raised in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, where he served as a doctor, both at the Oscar G. Johnson Veterans Affairs Hospital and in private practice.  In Congress, he chairs the Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health where he works to ensure that all veterans receive timely access to quality, affordable care.  

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Dr. Benishek Announces Opening of New District Office in Alpena

2014/12/11

ALPENA, MI: Today, Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) announced the opening of his First Congressional District Office in Alpena, Michigan.

“I am very excited about this new office in Alpena and the opportunity to reach more constituents in the Eastern part of the First Congressional District. Our goal is simply to provide greater access for the people of Northern Michigan and this new office will do just that. Being able to help those who are having problems with the Federal Government, whether it be acquiring their veterans benefits or helping with an overseas adoption, is the most rewarding part of representing this great district,” said Dr. Benishek, a lifelong resident of Northern Michigan.

The Alpena Office will be open to all constituents who need help with various issues pertaining to a government agency. District staffers are equipped to deal with a range of issues such as corresponding with the IRS, obtaining passports and visas, veterans issues, Medicare, military cases, Social Security, and disability claims. If you can't get an answer from a federal agency in a timely fashion, or if you feel you have been treated unfairly, Dr. Benishek’s district offices may be able to help resolve a problem or get you the information you need. While we cannot guarantee you a favorable outcome, we will do our best to help you receive a fair and timely response to your problem.

The Alpena Chamber of Commerce will be present for a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, December 12th to officially open the office. On Monday, December 15th, Dr. Benishek will be in the Alpena Office for an open house, where constituents are invited to meet their Congressman and learn about the services the new office will offer.

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Contact Information

514 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-4735
Fax 202-225-4744
benishek.house.gov

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.


Serving With

Bill Huizenga

MICHIGAN's 2nd DISTRICT

Justin Amash

MICHIGAN's 3rd DISTRICT

John Moolenaar

MICHIGAN's 4th DISTRICT

Fred Upton

MICHIGAN's 6th DISTRICT

Tim Walberg

MICHIGAN's 7th DISTRICT

Mike Bishop

MICHIGAN's 8th DISTRICT

Candice Miller

MICHIGAN's 10th DISTRICT

Dave Trott

MICHIGAN's 11th DISTRICT

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