Dan Benishek

Dan Benishek


Breast Cancer Awareness Month: A Reminder of the Importance of Early Detection


Picture a sold-out football game at the Superior Dome in Marquette packed with 8,000 fans. Now, multiply that number by five and that represents roughly the same number of American women and men who die from breast cancer each year. But there is some good news: thanks to early detection and improved treatments, death rates from breast cancer have been declining since 1989. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the perfect opportunity to learn more about breast screening guidelines that have been the subject of controversy in recent years.

As a doctor who has treated patients in Northern Michigan for nearly 30 years, I have come to learn that while the value of early detection is widely recognized, conflicting screening recommendations can cause confusion about the age, frequency and method of screening. Why is there a lack of consensus? There are several reasons, including differing interpretations of data and changing screening or treatment options. Conflicting judgments about how to assess the benefits and harms of screening also play a role. In order to determine what is best for you, it may be helpful to learn more about the guidelines-making institutions and organizations, and about how their recommendations differ.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and the American Cancer Society are three respected organizations that are frequently referenced and provide differing guidelines. Specifically:


• The USPSTF recommends biennial mammography for women ages 50 to 74, as evidence shows women in this age range benefit the most from screening. For women ages 40 to 49, the Task Force encourages women to speak to their doctors to decide whether screening is appropriate for them.

• NCCN, an alliance of 27 leading cancer centers, recommends women at average risk at age 40 and older receive an annual mammogram and consider digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT). DBT can reduce false-positives and may be particularly beneficial to women with dense breasts.

• ACS advises that women ages 40-44 decide with their health care professionals about when to start receiving mammograms. ACS also recommends that women ages 45-54 receive yearly mammograms, and at age 55 and older get mammograms every two years — though women who want to keep having yearly mammograms should be able to do so.

As screening and treatment options for breast cancer continue to evolve, we can expect guidelines to evolve as well. A consensus among organizations that issue screening guidelines would make decision-making easier, but until then, you can be your own best advocate and discuss your options with your health care professional. Decide together when to start screening, how often to be screened and which screening method to choose, taking into consideration your family history and personal risk factors.

Mammograms can and do save many lives. Get screened.

Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, is the United States Representative from the Michigan's First Congressional District. A link to the original article can be found here.

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VA Accountability Bill Passes House


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 5620, the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act by a vote of 310-116.  The legislation was co-sponsored by Congressman Dan Benishek.

“Our work on the Veterans Committee has been focused on ensuring the VA Secretary has the tools necessary to help our veterans receive the care they have earned,” said Dr. Benishek.  “This legislation gives the VA Secretary the authority to reprimand and dismiss toxic employees who undermine the VA’s mission of caring for America’s veterans, and makes improvement to the appeals process to assist our veterans in need of help.”

H.R. 5620 authorizes the VA Secretary to fire or demote any VA employee for performance or misconduct, including recoup bonuses or relocation expenses; increase protections for whistleblowers; reform the VA’s appeals process by increasing avenues of recourse for veterans; and eliminate all bonuses for VA Senior Executive Service Employees for FY 2017-2021.

“Many of the problems this bill addresses are the same issues I encountered as a VA doctor during the past two decades,” added Dr. Benishek.  “Instead of excuses, there needs to be solutions from VA officials, and this bill is another step in the right direction.”

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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Benishek Sportsmen Bill Included in Package to be Negotiated with Senate


Washington, D.C. – Legislation authored by Dr. Dan Benishek to protect sportsmen rights was passed today by the House of Representatives as part of an amendment to S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act. 

“Hunting and fishing are more than just recreational activities in Northern Michigan, they are major contributors to our economy,” said Dr. Benishek.  “It is vital that we protect access to our federal lands for these activities.”

The language introduced by Dr. Benishek, H.R. 528, the Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act, would create an "open until closed" policy for sportsmen's use of federal land and would block threats from interest groups that seek to limit hunting, fishing and shooting on federal properties. The proposed legislation would limit these threats to sportsmen access by directing federal land managers at the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to facilitate use and access for hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting activities on federal lands.  The outdoor recreation economy contributes nearly $20 billion annually to Michigan’s economy.

“I have spent countless hours outdoors enjoying the abundant natural resources that we are lucky enough to have here in Northern Michigan,” added life-long UP resident Dr. Benishek.  “Today’s vote brings us closer to protecting the right to access federal lands for our sportsmen and women.   Ensuring these opportunities are available to future generations is a legacy I will be proud to leave behind. “

The House and Senate will establish a Conference Committee to work out the differences between the Senate passed S. 2012, and the House’s amended version of S. 2012.  Should an agreement be reached by the two legislative bodies, both bodies will vote on the conference report.  Upon passage of the conference report, it would then be sent to the president’s desk to be signed into law. 

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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Benishek Introduces Legislation to Rename Traverse City VA Clinic


Washington, DC:  Today, Dr. Benishek introduced legislation to rename the Traverse City VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) after Colonel Demas T. Craw, a Medal of Honor recipient from Traverse City. 

“Renaming the Traverse City facility after a local Medal of Honor recipient is an appropriate way to not only recognize the service of Colonel Craw, but it is also a reminder of the sacrifices that so many Northern Michigan veterans have made for our nation,” said Dr. Benishek.

Born near Traverse City in 1900, Colonel Craw served in in the U.S. Army during both world wars. As a United States Army Air Forces officer in WWII, he served as a U.S. advisor to the Royal Air Force prior to American entry to the war and was captured and interned by German forces for six weeks in 1941. He was killed in action on November 8, 1942, after volunteering to lead a dangerous and ultimately successful mission behind enemy lines. He received the Medal of Honor posthumously for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty.”

The renaming effort has been led at the local level by Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Terry Hawn and Dr. Dan Lathrop.  Together, they worked to build interest and local support within the veteran community and with Traverse City officials. Federal legislation is needed to rename a VA CBOC.

“This is an idea that was born in Traverse City and I commend LTC Hawn and Dr. Lathrop for all their hard work and desire to honor a local hero,” added Dr. Benishek.  “We are taking the necessary steps to see this idea become a reality by introducing a bill and building bipartisan support.” 

The legislation was introduced with the entire Michigan Congressional delegation as cosponsors.  Renaming the facility currently has the support of the Grand Traverse Area Veterans Coalition, VFW Cherryland Post 2780, Traverse City American Legion Post 35, Fife Lake American Legion Post 219, Cherryland VFW Post 2780 Auxiliary, Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) Northwestern Michigan Chapter, American Military League Post #1, State Senator Wayne Schmidt, State Representative Larry Inman, and Traverse City Mayor James Carruthers.  In addition, over 2,000 Traverse City area residents have signed a petition to rename the facility after COL Craw.

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Benishek Announces Congressional Art Competition


  Dr. Benishek Announces Congressional Art Competition High School Art Submissions Now Being Accepted  Washington, DC - Today Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) announced that his office is now accepting submissions for the 2016 Congressional Art Competition.  All high school students who are residents of the 1st District of Michigan are encouraged to participate.  The winning entry will be displayed in the United States Capitol building in Washington, D.C.    "The Congressional Art Competition is a great opportunity to highlight talented, young artistis in Northern Michigan and throughout our country," said Dr. Benishek.  "The winning artwork is displayed in a passageway to the U.S. Capitol where it is viewed by thousands of visitors and Members of Congress everyday."    Interested students and teachers should visit www.benishek.house.gov/serving-you/art-competition or call 906-273-2074 for more information and the full guidelines to submit entries.    Each student will be allowed to submit up to two (2) entries.  Winners are presented with two round trip tickets to Washington, D.C. to visit the nation's capital and attend an exclusive reception inside the U.S. Capitol honoring the country's winners courtesy of Southwest Airlines.    Basic guidelines for the competition are as follows:   All artwork must be submitted by Friday, April 15, 2016 and a winner will be chosen by the end of the month.     Guidelines for the 2016 Artwork:
  • Artwork must be two-dimensional;
  • Each piece must be no larger than 28"x28"x4" - including the frame;
  • Artwork cannot weigh more than 15 lbs;
  • Work entered must be in the original; and,
  • All work submitted must be framed or have reinforced backing and be ready to hang on the exhibition wall.
Acceptable mediums for submissions:
  • Paintings: oil, acrylics, watercolor etc.;
  • Drawings: pastels, colored pencil, pencil, charcoal, ink, markers;
  • Collage;
  • Prints: lithographs, silkscreen, block prints;
  • Mixed Media: use of more than two mediums such as pencil, ink, watercolor, etc.;
  • Computer generated art; and,
  • Photography.


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Benishek Supports Local Maritime Academy


Benishek, Crowley Lead Bipartisan Letter Urging House Appropriations Committee to Boost Federal Funding for State Maritime Academies Over 60 Members of Congress Sign Letter in Support of Continuing Funding for New Training Vessels  Washington, D.C. - Today, Reps. Dan Benishek (R-MI)  and Joe Crowley (D-NY) announced they sent a bipartisan letter along with more than 60 of their colleagues urging leaders of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation to provide robust funding for State Maritime Academies for Fiscal Year 2017. Specifically, the letter urges funding for the National Security Multi-Mission Vessel program to support the construction of a new vessel for the nation's six State Maritime Academies (SMAs) to train future mariners.   "Graduates from institutions like the Great Lakes Maritime Academy in Traverse City are receiving the training they need for a career on the water. These students are our future ship captains and sailors all around the country. As we know in Northern Michigan, these jobs are vital to supporting our nation's economy by ensuring goods are delivered safely and the maritime industry is healthy and vibrant," said Dr. Benishek. "Our State Maritime Academies, including SUNY Maritime College in the Bronx, are more than sources of pride for our nation - they play a crucial role in producing the next generation of maritime leaders and in protecting our national security interests," said Crowley, whose district includes SUNY Maritime College. "Despite their critical role, our maritime academies are stuck with an aging, outdated fleet of vessels. We can't train the mariners of tomorrow with the ships of yesterday. That's why it is imperative that our maritime academies have the funding and resources necessary so they can continue their critical mission."

The maritime industry is an essential part of our nation's economy, in addition to playing a critical role in national security. Each year, the industry generates over $100 billion, employs 1.5 million Americans and pays tens of billions in wages and benefits. The United States has long maintained a strong maritime industry because of concerted investments in the sector, including in the nation's six State Maritime Academies (SMAs) and the ships they use for training.

"I am pleased and gratified by the strongest bi-partisan support we have ever received regarding the need to replace the aging fleet of training ships used by the State Maritime Academies to train and educate this nation's future mariners. Congressman Joe Crowley and Congressman Dan Benishek have demonstrated tremendous leadership in spearheading this initiative. Their keen understanding of the importance of a strong merchant marine to our national security and economy is to be commended and widely applauded," said RADM Michael A.  Alfultis, president of SUNY Maritime College.   "The federally regulated maritime academies, which include Northwestern Michigan College's Great Lakes Maritime Academy, are unique American assets. They collectively produce over 70% of the credentialed mariners who serve as officers on large tonnage American flag merchant vessels. Additionally, many maritime academy graduates choose to serve their nation as active duty officers in the U.S. armed forces. If America is to continue to be a seafaring nation it must produce high quality merchant marine officers. If that goal is to be met the NSMV program needs to move forward," said Great Lakes Maritime Academy Superintendent, Rear Admiral Gerard Achenbach.

Crowley and Benishek have long-championed funding for new training vessels for our nation's maritime academies, spearheading multiple bipartisan letters to the Administration. In 2014, Crowley led a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Office of Management and Budget with the initial request that the agencies to develop and support a plan to replace the aging ships used by our nation's State Maritime Academies. In February 2015, President Obama designated $5 million in his budget to design and replace aging ships and a few months later, Crowley announcedthat the bill to fund the Department of Transportation and Department of Housing and Urban Development would include these funds, which was signed into law as part of the larger bill funding the entire government for FY2016.   The full text is below:   March 17, 2016   The Honorable Mario Diaz-Balart                             The Honorable David Price Chairman                                                                    Ranking Member Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee       Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee U.S. House of Representatives                                  U.S. House of Representatives 2358-A Rayburn HOB                                              2358-A Rayburn HOB Washington, DC  20515                                            Washington, DC  20515   Dear Chairman Diaz-Balart and Ranking Member Price,   We thank you for your past support for the State Maritime Academies (SMAs) and urge you to support robust levels of funding for Fiscal Year 2017, particularly for the National Security Multi-Mission Vessel (NSMV) program. While the vast majority of operating revenues for the SMAs come from non-federal sources such as tuition and state funding, the federal funding that the SMAs receive is critical to their mission.   Each year, the American domestic maritime industry contributes nearly 500,000 jobs and $100 billion in economic impact, providing tens of billions of dollars in wages and benefits.  U.S.-licensed mariners also serve as eyes and ears on our inland and coastal waterways and provide critical sealift capacity in support of our armed services at home and abroad.  Our nation has long maintained a strong maritime industry because of these economic and national security benefits.   Increased industry need for federally licensed mariners means good-paying jobs are being created in this sector of our economy. However, the U.S. is facing an impending shortage of trained mariners. Such a shortage will have a severely negative impact on national and economic security, making the work of the six SMAs especially important. As you know SMAs are located across the country and produce more than 70 percent of the newly U.S.-licensed merchant marine officers each year. Collectively, the SMAs have a nearly 100 percent placement rate for their licensed graduates, who come from all 50 states.    The president's proposed budget includes critical funding to continue the federal-state partnership through which SMAs provide first-class, four-year STEM degrees to licensed graduates who immediately enter the workforce. However, we are concerned that the request does not take the necessary steps toward investing in the National Security Multi-Mission Vessel (NSMV) program. For nearly 150 years, the Federal government has provided training vessels to the SMAs, and in return, the academies have produced the highest-quality licensed mariners, who have served this country in war and peace. New NSMVs would be federally-owned assets that would replace the current, aging mixture of repurposed vessels that are on average more than 35 years old. Crucially, these vessels would be assigned by the government to the SMAs for use as training ships. Such funding is particularly necessary given that the largest training ship, the T/S Empire State VI, is already near the end of its useful life. Should this vessel need to be taken offline before the first NSMV is completed, it would result in a crushing disruption in our nation's ability to train new mariners.   Recently, Gen. Darren W. McDew, the commander of the U.S. Transportation Command, which oversees military sealift, spoke to the critical role that commercial mariners play in national security.  He highlighted, "the reality that the mariners who move international trade and those who transport wartime cargo come from the same dwindling pool of U.S. mariners."  These are the very mariners who graduated from America's six SMAs and just one more reason why this funding is so important.   We thank you again for your previous support and urge your continued attention to this issue by providing robust funding for the State Maritime Academies programs. We particularly urge funding for the NSMV program at a level that addresses the critical requirement for mariners highlighted by Gen. McDew and others. We look forward to working with you in order to sustain the mission of our State Maritime Academies.    Sincerely,   Joseph Crowley Daniel Benishek Joe Courtney Charles B. Rangel Chellie Pingree Janice Hahn Gregory W. Meeks Juan Vargas James R. Langevin Carolyn B. Maloney Sheila Jackson Lee Mike Thompson Matt Cartwright Peter T. King Alan S. Lowenthal Julia Brownley Joseph P. Kennedy, III Bradley Byrne Katherine M. Clark Eliot L. Engel Lois Frankel Mark Takai Jerrold Nadler Kathleen M. Rice William R. Keating Sean Patrick Maloney Eleanor Holmes Norton Nydia M. Velázquez Candice S. Miller Bruce Poliquin James P. McGovern Stephen F. Lynch John Garamendi Niki Tsongas Don Young Elijah E. Cummings Daniel M. Donovan, Jr. Gene Green Grace Meng Frank C. Guinta Frederica S. Wilson Paul Tonko Elizabeth H. Esty Hakeem S. Jeffries Randy K. Weber, Sr. Michael E. Capuano Richard E. Neal John Katko Yvette D. Clarke Christopher P. Gibson Lee M. Zeldin Susan A. Davis Stacey E. Plaskett Duncan Hunter Scott H. Peters John Conyers, Jr. Seth Moulton Mark DeSaulnier Charles W. Boustany, Jr. Donald M. Payne, Jr. Frank A. LoBiondo Pete Olson Brian Babin Eric Swalwell


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Benishek Announces Improvements to Help Veterans Access High Quality Care


Washington, DC - Today Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) announced a new change in policy at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that would reduce the amount of paper work local health care providers must complete when participating in the VA Choice program. This change is intended to decrease the payment delays that local providers experience when participating in the Choice program.  Frequent delays have led to some providers opting to leave the program, further reducing heath care access for veterans. 

"Our veterans have earned the right to high quality health care, and it is our responsibility to ensure they have access to that care.  We cannot allow bureaucracy and paperwork to keep the Choice program from working in the manner that Congress intended it to work for our veterans," said Dr. Benishek.  "I have heard from far too many local health care providers who are trying to take care of our veterans in the Choice program, but continue to encounter hurdles such as not being paid in a timely manner.  While I am pleased the VA is taking this first step to help streamline the program, more needs to be done and I will continue to work with veterans and providers to improve the program." 

 Under previous rules, payments to providers were not allowed until a copy of the veteran's medical record was submitted.  This unnecessary and unusual paperwork requirement has been cited as a cause of confusion and delays among Choice providers leading to some deciding to drop out of the program.  The Choice program was created by Congress in 2014  in response to the unacceptable waiting times for veterans seeking medical care.  The program allows veterans to seek needed health care from participating non-VA health care providers in their community should access to the regular VA medical facility not be available. 

Veterans or providers who are seeking to participate in the Choice program or who have any issues or concerns with the program are encouraged to contact Dr. Benishek's office at 202-225-4735.

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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Benishek Priorities Gain Approval in the House of Representatives


Washington, DC - Today the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2406, the "Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act," or the "SHARE Act" by a vote of 242 to 161.   The SHARE Act is a bipartisan package that is aimed at protecting the rights of sportsmen and women to hunt and fish on public lands.    Included in the legislation was Dr. Benishek's bill, H.R. 528, the Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act.  This language creates an "open until closed" policy for sportsmen's use of federal lands.  Over the years, legislative ambiguity has allowed anti-hunting groups to pursue an agenda that have wrongly eliminated opportunities for many of these activities on our federal lands.    "Like many in Northern Michigan, since I was a young child I have spent my summers fishing and in the fall, we are hunting grouse in the U.P. woods," said Dr. Benishek.  "Not only are these traditions that we must make sure are preserved for generations to come, but they are activities that add significantly to our economy."   Also included in the legislation was an amendment Dr. Benishek helped author.  The amendment directs the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reissue a rule to delist the gray wolf in Wyoming and the Great Lakes Region.  Last year, a Washington D.C. judge ordered the gray wolf to be returned to the endangered species list, despite a determination by the USFWS that the species had recovered.    "My amendment was based on valuable input from both Michigan and federal officials in order to use sound science to responsibly manage the wolf population while also meeting the needs of local communities," said Dr. Benishek.  "As the number of wolves has increased well beyond the recommended number for recovery, there has been a negative impact on other species and a constant threat to livestock and pets."   The SHARE Act and Dr. Benishek's amendment was supported by sportsmen's organizations such as Safari Club International and the National Rifle Association.  In Michigan, on average, over 1.9 million hunters and anglers spend more than $4.8 billion on hunting and fishing year.  Read More

Benishek Helps Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Boost Great Lakes Funding, Modernize Research Capabilities


WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Gary Peters (MI), Debbie Stabenow (MI) and Reps. Dan Benishek, M.D. (MI-1) and Mike Quigley (IL-5) today introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to spur Great Lakes funding and research efforts and help support effective fishery management decisions. The Great Lakes Fishery Research Authorization (GLFRA) Act gives the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) the clear legislative authority it needs to support the $7 billion Great Lakes sport and commercial fishery industry. This bill will provide better federal funding opportunities to update technologies and create new research projects to benefit the Great Lakes, which hold one-fifth of the world’s fresh water surface water. This legislation will help close the resource gap between the Great Lakes Science Center and other fishery research centers across the country. Despite the size of the Great Lakes and the value of the fishery, the Great Lakes science program does not have the same funding authorizations as science centers on saltwater coasts.

“The Great Lakes are an ecological treasure, not just for Michiganders, but for Americans across the country,” said Senator Peters, member of the Great Lakes Task Force. “The Great Lakes Fishery Research Authorization Act will increase certainty for the Great Lakes by ending piecemeal funding and putting in place a pathway for steady, long-term federal support. Giving the USGS, Great Lakes Science Center the legislative authority that it deserves will assist research efforts and aid development of advanced data collection technologies, so that we can continue to protect the diverse Great Lakes ecosystem and the regional economies it supports.”

“Our Great Lakes and waterways are part of who we are and our way of life,” said Senator Stabenow, Co-Chair of the Great Lakes Task Force. “From water quality issues to invasive species, there are so many challenges facing our lakes and fisheries, which is why funding for cutting-edge research is so important.”

“The Great Lakes fisheries are a key source of economic activity, and support countless jobs and a way of life here in Michigan,” said Dr. Benishek, member of the Great Lakes Task Force. “By ensuring a dedicated source of federal funding to support research activities, this bipartisan initiative will help combat issues facing the Great Lakes like invasive species and allow the sport and commercial fishing industry to remain viable and vibrant.”

“Chicagoans understand the role the Great Lakes play as an economic driver for our region. In order to protect and improve this unique resource, we must support the necessary scientific advancements that help to develop new research technologies and enhance Great Lakes fishery assessments so we can better understand the health of the ecosystem,” said Congressman Quigley, member of the Great Lakes Task Force. “The Great Lakes Science Center is already conducting vital research, but they are limited by piecemeal funding from Congress. That’s why I’m proud to introduce the Great Lakes Fishery Research Authorization Act with Congressman Benishek to ensure the Great Lakes Science Center has the funding it needs to better manage the complex challenges of the Great Lakes ecosystem.”  

The legislation is supported by a broad coalition of environmental and conservation groups, including Great Lakes Fishery Commission, Council of Lake Committees, Council of Great Lakes Fisheries Agencies, Alliance for the Great Lakes, Shedd Aquarium, Trout Unlimited, and JMS Naval Architects.

“We must protect and improve the Great Lakes fishery, and science is the foundation of that mission,” said Great Lakes Fishery Commission vice-chair David Ullrich, executive director of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative.  “A healthy fishery means a healthy environment and economy. The more we know about what is going on with the fishery, the more equipped we are to protect it and manage it well.”

“The Great Lakes are vital to the economy of all of the states bordering them, and they are an environmental treasure,” said Dale Tahtinen, Vice President for Governmental Relations, Michigan Technological University. “We must preserve them not only for today, but for future generations.”

Since 1996, the Great Lakes Science Center has been funded through the U.S. Geological Survey’s base appropriations with no dedicated funding source of its own. The USGS, Great Lakes Science Center needs authorizing legislation and a reliable funding stream to conduct and modernize fishery research throughout the five Great Lakes to support wise fishery management decisions. This bill gives the USGS Director more leverage to devote money to the Great Lakes and authorizes $17.5M for fiscal years 2017-2026.

Based in Ann Arbor, the USGS, Great Lakes Science Center maintains staff and field stations in five of the eight Great Lakes States, including Michigan, New York, Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin. It owns and operates five large fishery research vessels, and is the only agency that conducts lake-wide fisheries science assessments on each of the five Great lakes.

The USGS, Great Lakes Science Center has made significant research contributions, including advancing a suite of projects to support restoration efforts of native prey fish populations throughout the Great Lakes basin; leading world-class research on the most notable invasive species in the history of the Great Lakes: the parasitic sea lamprey; and helping to implement one of the largest freshwater telemetry fish-movement-tracking networks in the world. These efforts help scientists better assess the status of native fish populations or target invasive species control with more accuracy.


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Benishek Applauds Designation of SS Badger as National Landmark


Washington, DC - The US Department of Interior announced today that the SS Badger, the last coal-fired steam ship operating on the Great Lakes (and likely the United States), will be named as a National Historic Landmark today.  The National Historic Landmark program recognizes historic resources that illustrate the heritage of the United States.  

During Dr. Benishek's first year in office, the SS Badger, which provides over 200 jobs to Northern Michigan families, was facing a shutdown due to regulatory burdens from the EPA.  Reps. Benishek, along with Reps. Huizenga and Levin, led the charge to protect ships like the SS Badger.   Additionally, Dr. Benishek has supported efforts to recognize the economic and historic significance of the ship.  This process ultimately led to the designation of the SS Badger as a National Historic Landmark today.

"This iconic ship is a part of Northern Michigan history, and I am happy to learn that it will be recognized accordingly.  Every year, the Badger brings thousands of families across Lake Michigan to enjoy the Pure Michigan experience.  This ship is a part of our culture and heritage, and I will always work to ensure that it can continue to serve our state," said Congressman Dan Benishek, who represents Michigan's First District.  

The 410 foot ferry first launched in 1952 and can carry 600 passengers and 180 vehicles across Lake Michigan between Wisconsin and Michigan. 

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Dr. Benishek Recognizes Veteran Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

2016-09-29 17:23:41

Dr. Benishek Discusses Wolf Population During Natural Resources Subcommittee Hearing

2016-09-23 20:07:52

Dr. Benishek Discusses America's Agricultural Trade With Cuba

2016-09-22 18:27:43

Dr. Benishek Examines How the VA Evaluates Employees

2016-09-15 20:51:28

Dr. Benishek Questions the Commission on Care to Improve Health Care for Veterans

2016-09-09 14:14:40

Dr. Benishek Recognizes Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week

2016-07-08 18:52:22

Dr. Benishek Promotes Mental Healthcare

2016-07-08 16:02:56

Dr. Benishek Highlights the National Cherry Festival

2016-07-08 14:05:52

Dr. Benishek Investigates the Role of the EPA in the Permitting Process

2016-06-24 18:09:24

Dr. Benishek Addresses Issues With the Mental Health Crisis Line and Burial Benefits

2016-06-24 16:15:15

Dr. Benishek Recognizes Alzheimer's Awareness Month

2016-06-13 22:07:44

Dr. Benishek Recognizes Servicemembers for Memorial Day

2016-05-27 16:09:23

Dr. Benishek Addresses the Issues With the Veterans Crisis Line

2016-05-13 15:30:21

Dr. Benishek Examines How the Farm Economy Affects Food Prices and the Consumer

2016-05-11 20:39:01

Dr. Benishek Speaks Out Against Executive Overreach

2016-04-28 21:05:55

Dr. Benishek Examines the Effects of Endangered Species Habitat Rules

2016-04-22 16:56:08

Dr. Benishek Defends the Access to Paper Tax Forms

2016-04-20 20:21:33

Dr. Benishek Stresses the Importance of Accountability at the VA

2016-04-18 18:17:47

Congressman Benishek Evaluates the VA's IT and Scheduling Process

2016-04-15 15:00:40

Congressman Benishek Highlights the Importance of the Great Lakes

2016-03-23 19:02:13

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.

Serving With

Bill Huizenga


Justin Amash


John Moolenaar


Fred Upton


Tim Walberg


Mike Bishop


Candice Miller


Dave Trott


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