WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, signed on to legislation sponsored by Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, and U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, which would control the spread of Asian Carp. The Defending Our Great Lakes Act would give federal agencies authority to take immediate actions to stop the spread of invasive species like Asian Carp. The legislation will also require agencies to work with regional stakeholders to institute measures to stop the spread of invasive species like Asian Carp between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins.
“We must take aggressive action to protect our Great Lakes from invasive species like Asian Carp,” commented Upton. “This bipartisan, bicameral legislation is vitally important for the health and beauty of our Great Lakes ecosystem as well as protecting thousands of jobs in the recreational fishing and boating industries. I look forward to working with my Michigan colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers of Congress to get this done.”
Note: There are 12 additional members of the Michigan Congressional Delegation who are original cosponsors of the bill, including Senator Gary Peters and Representatives Dan Benishek (MI-01), Mike Bishop (MI-08), John Conyers (MI-13), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Bill Huizenga (MI-02), Dan Kildee (MI-05), Sandy Levin (MI-09), John Moolenaar (MI-04), Dave Trott (MI-11), and Tim Walberg (MI-07).Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, joined by the majority of his House colleagues voted to advance a bill that would expand and strengthen tax-free 529 college savings plans. The legislation, H.R. 529, To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to improve 529 plans, would expand, strengthen, and modernize 529 college savings accounts. Specifically, H.R. 529 would allow payments from 529 plans to be used to buy important educational tools like computers as well as assistive technology devices, to eliminate a burdensome tax requirement, and to allow taxpayers, on a tax-free basis, to re-deposit refunds from educational institutions.
“H.R. 529 is a commonsense, bipartisan bill that will help middle-class families struggling with student-loan debt burdens,” said Upton. “These 529 college savings plans are an essential tool for families across Michigan as they plan and save for college or post-secondary training. I am proud to support H.R. 529 and hope the Senate acts swiftly to send this bill to the president’s desk.”
According to estimates from the Joint Committee on Taxation, implementing H.R. 529 would reduce revenues by $51 million during the 2015-2025 period.
Background: Created in 1996, 529 college savings plans are an education savings plan operated by a state or educational institution designed to help families set aside funds for future college or post-secondary costs. An estimated 12 million parents use tax-free 529 college savings plans.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, tonight joined the majority of his House colleagues in passing H.R. 212, the Drinking Water Protection Act. This bipartisan legislation, which advanced through Upton’s committee earlier this month, would amend the Safe Drinking Water Act to require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop and submit a strategic plan to Congress within 90 days of enactment for assessing and managing the risk associated with harmful algal toxins in drinking water.
“As someone who represents a large chunk of Michigan coastline, I have long been a champion of all issues related to our Great Lakes and protecting those who live around them,” commented Upton, who also chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “Great Lakes drinking water is essential for millions of folks, and this thoughtful bill will give the EPA the tools they need to prevent future occurrences like the one that happened last summer in Ohio. I urge the Senate to take this bipartisan bill up promptly, and for the president to sign it into law.”
H.R. 212, the Drinking Water Protection Act was drafted by Congressman Bob Latta, R-Ohio, in response to last year’s water emergency in Lake Erie which threatened drinking water for nearly 500,000 residents of Toledo, Ohio.Read More
Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, today announced two new staff hires for his St. Joseph-Benton Harbor and Kalamazoo district offices.
“I am very pleased to welcome two great additions to our team,” said Upton. “Two of my most important responsibilities as a Member of Congress are to directly assist folks from Southwest Michigan in dealing with the federal government and making sure their voices are heard. Chad and Corey are both from Southwest Michigan, have an extensive knowledge of the area, and understand how to best serve their communities. I know that they are excited to get to work on behalf of folks in Southwest Michigan.”
Chad Dillon – Constituent Service Representative
Dillon, a Portage native, began his duties as Constituent Services Representative in the Kalamazoo district office in January. Dillon will spearhead Upton’s military veteran outreach having served in the Michigan Army National Guard from 2004-2010 and in Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2008-2009. A 2014 graduate from Western Michigan University where he studied political science, Dillon also interned in Upton’s Kalamazoo district office while attending college.
Corey Hansen – Constituent Service Representative
Hansen, a South Haven native, began his duties as Constituent Services Representative in the St. Joseph-Benton Harbor district office in February. Hansen graduated in 2014 from Western Michigan University where he studied Business Management and Accountancy. Hansen also interned in Upton’s St. Joseph-Benton Harbor office while attending college.
Upton operates full-time constituent service offices in both St. Joseph-Benton Harbor and Kalamazoo. These offices provide vital assistance to all Southwest Michigan residents in dealing with the federal government. Whether working with the Social Security Administration, presenting one of our nation’s brave veterans with overdue service medals, or a myriad of other services, Upton’s district offices have a well-earned reputation for cutting through bureaucratic red tape and getting the job done for folks in Southwest Michigan.Read More
Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, today announced the appointment of Hunter Simino to the United States Air Force Academy. Simono, a varsity athlete and Vice President of the Student Ambassadors at Portage Central High School, was nominated to the academy in December and was personally congratulated upon his appointment by Upton today.
“I am thrilled to announce the appointment of Hunter to the United States Air Force Academy,” said Upton. “He is a remarkable young man and the city of Portage ought to be proud. To nominate and now announce Hunter’s appointment is an honor for me as well. I was able to speak with him today and offer my congratulations - he is excited for the opportunity to serve his country. I encourage any local students looking to follow in Hunter’s footsteps to apply to the U.S. service academies and to contact my office for nomination information.”
Upton nominates students to military services academies from Michigan’s Sixth District who have excelled in school and extracurricular activities and are interviewed by members of his Academy Advisory Board, which is made up of community leaders. The individual academies make the final decision on military appointments. Upton nominated Simino and 16 other Southwest Michigan students to the United States services academies last December.
Students interested in attending a service academy are encouraged to contact Upton’s Kalamazoo District Office for further information at (269) 385-0039 or by visiting his website here.Read More
A longtime advocate for families like the Kennedy’s of Mattawan, Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, helped lead the effort in 2013 to boost research of rare pediatric diseases such as Spinal Muscular Atrophy, which affects the two young daughters of Sarah and Eric Kennedy. Recently, Upton unveiled the 21st Century Cures initiative with his colleague U.S. Representative Diana DeGette, D-Colorado. The initiative aims to get cures and treatments to patients more quickly.
Upton, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has pledged to work with Republicans and Democrats for ideas and will continue an aggressive schedule to introduce 21st Century Cures legislation and ultimately send a bill to President Obama by the end of the year.
To learn more about this groundbreaking initiative and how it’s helping families in Southwest Michigan please click here.
How Two Young Sisters Cope With a Rare Muscle Wasting Disease
February 17, 2015
Around the time of Brielle Kennedy's first birthday, her parents, Sarah and Eric, noticed that her physical development was a little slow.
"Our pediatrician told us not to worry at first but when she still wasn't walking at 16 months, he sent us to a specialist,” Sarah Kennedy recalled.
The toddler was diagnosed with type II spinal muscular atrophy, a rare condition that is part of a group of childhood diseases that cause the muscles of young children to waste away. SMA, as the disease is called in shorthand, occurs when there is a missing "survival neuron gene" and the body cannot produce the necessary proteins to build up muscle.
Their daughter would never walk, doctors told the Kennedys. She would have trouble holding up her head and neck and would likely need extensive medical treatment, including physical therapy and occupational therapy for the rest of her life, doctors told the couple.
The diagnosis came soon after Kennedy gave birth to her second daughter, Brooke, and just five days before her husband, a physician’s assistant with the Army, was about to be deployed to Afghanistan for a year. Shortly after he left, Brooke was also diagnosed with SMA.
“It was a really rough time,” Kennedy said. “But we tried to remain hopeful and learn everything we could about the disease.”
SMA affects one in every 6,000 to 10,000 children, the Kennedys soon found out. There is no known cure or treatment.
Doctors explained that when both parents are carriers for SMA there is a 25 percent chance their child will have the disease.
The Kennedys said they are hopeful about several other new trials in the works, including one that is a possible SMA cure. As they hope and pray for a medical breakthrough, the Kennedys said that Brooke and Brielle lead full, happy lives with lots of friends and a love of Disney princesses and animals.
Last year, the family worked with their congressman, Rep. Fred Upton, and the National Organization of Rare Diseases to help pass a new law that funds medical research for rare and devastating childhood diseases. They say that focusing on the positive and finding support is key.
Read the full story here.Read More
KALAMAZOO, Mich. – High school student artists living in Michigan’s Sixth Congressional District are invited by Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, to take part in the 2015 Congressional Art Competition. The winner will have his or her piece hang in the Capitol for a year along with the winners of the award from other Congressional districts. The winner and a guest will also be invited to attend a reception in Washington, D.C., along with two free tickets from Southwest Airlines to attend the June gathering.
The Congressional Art Competition for the Sixth District will be held in conjunction with the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts 2015 High School Area Show, which opens with a reception and awards ceremony at 5:30 p.m. on April 24. The CAC winner will also be announced at that time. The exhibition will run through May 24.
Art work to be considered for the CAC and the Area Show are to be submitted to the KIA between March 25 and 27 to the KIA, 314 S. Park St. in Kalamazoo.
“I am happy to encourage young artists to take part in the Congressional Art Competition and the KIA High School Area Show,” said Upton, whose district includes most of Allegan County and all of Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren counties. “Art is the outcome of the creative process, which fuels new developments in so many areas. We should encourage it in our young people.
“Plus, thousands of people will be able to see the talent Michigan’s Sixth District has to offer as the winner’s art is displayed in the Capitol.”
Autumn Roth, then a senior at St. Joseph High School in Berrien County, won last year’s Sixth District CAC competition with her digital photograph titled Heard? The idea for the image came from pictures Roth had seen of women covered head to foot in burkas. The title, she said, was inspired by the saying that children should be seen but not heard. Her piece can be viewed here.
Students interested in taking part in the CAC are urged to note that some requirements differ from those of the KIA show - only framed two-dimensional artwork no larger than 28 inches long, 28 inches wide and 4 inches deep and less than 15 pounds can be hung in the Capitol. Those pieces that conform to CAC requirements may also be considered for the KIA competition. Rules and guidelines for the CAC can be found here.
Educator, artist and curator Greg Waskowsky, who recently retired from the KIA, will jury the exhibition and select the work of up to 100 artists whose work is to be shown as well as select winners of cash prizes and scholarships.
Entry forms for the CAC can be found on Upton’s web site here or at his office at 157 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Suite 180, in Kalamazoo. Information and entry forms for the Area Show can be found on the KIA web site here.
Awards to be given at the Area Show include cash prizes and scholarships for summer programs at the Cleveland Institute of Art and the KIA Kirk Newman Art School as well as four-year scholarships for undergraduate study at Western Michigan University, Kendall College of Art and Design and the Cleveland Institute of Art.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, released the following statement after the House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Upton, voted to advance H.R. 212, the Drinking Water Protection Act. The bipartisan bill would amend the Safe Drinking Water Act to require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop and submit a strategic plan to Congress within 90 days of enactment for assessing and managing the risk associated with harmful algal toxins in drinking water.
“As someone who has long-championed Great Lakes issues and protecting those who live around them, I’m proud to support this commonsense legislation,” said Upton. “The Drinking Water Protection Act provides the EPA tools to prevent future water crises like the one that happened in Toledo, Ohio, last year where nearly a half-million residents could not access safe, clean drinking water. We cannot have a situation like that again, and I am very pleased to see this important legislation now one step closer to becoming law to ensure our Great Lakes drinking water is safe.”
H.R. 212, the Drinking Water Protection Act, was drafted in response to last year’s water emergency in Lake Erie. Harmful algal blooms threatened drinking water. The committee had previously sent letters and was briefed by the EPA.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, chaired by Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, released framework for a comprehensive energy package. The committee is releasing a series of discussion drafts that aim to build an “Architecture of Abundance” by addressing four key policy areas: modernizing infrastructure, a 21st century energy workforce, energy diplomacy, and efficiency and accountability. The committee plans to advance the discussion drafts through its legislative process in the coming months with the goal of bringing a solutions-focused energy package to the House floor later this year.
“Our energy realities have changed dramatically – we’ve gone from bust to boom practically overnight. However, today’s energy policies are lagging far behind,” said Upton. “We need policies that meet today’s needs and are focused on the future. That starts with building the Architecture of Abundance. By modernizing our infrastructure, empowering a 21st Century energy workforce, strengthening our energy diplomacy, and promoting more efficiency and accountability, we can lay the foundation for a forward-looking national energy strategy that truly embraces our energy abundance. Most importantly, saying yes to energy will create good-paying jobs, keep costs down for Michigan families and businesses, and boost our energy security.”
To view the committee’s Architecture of Abundance framework, click here.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, today released the following statement after the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy held a legislative hearing and voted to advance H.R. 212, the Drinking Water Protection Act. The bipartisan bill would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop and submit a strategic plan to Congress within 90 days of enactment for assessing and managing the risk associated with harmful algal toxins in drinking water.
“As someone who represents a big chunk of Michigan coastline, I have long been a champion of all issues related to our Great Lakes and protecting those who live around them,” said Upton, who also chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee. “This bill will give the EPA the tools they need to prevent future occurrences like the one that happened in Ohio.”
H.R. 212, the Drinking Water Protection Act, was drafted in response to last year’s water emergency in Lake Erie. Harmful algal blooms threatened drinking water and resulted in a temporary tap water ban for 500,000 people in the Toledo, Ohio area. The committee had previously sent letters and was briefed by the EPA.
The legislation passed the subcommittee by voice vote, and now heads to the full committee for consideration.Read More
2183 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Congressman Fred Upton (MI-06) is proud to represent the commonsense values of southwest Michigan. In 2010, Fred was selected by his House colleagues to serve as Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, which has jurisdiction over matters concerning energy, healthcare, the environment, telecommunications, commerce, manufacturing, and trade, as well as oversight and investigations.
Prior to his election to Congress, Fred worked for President Ronald Reagan in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). While at OMB, he learned from President Reagan’s example that it does not matter who gets the credit, as long as the job gets done.
Fred has a well-earned reputation for getting things done in Washington and at home in southwest Michigan. The South Bend Tribune writes that Fred “attacks government spending and wants tax cuts retained and the budget balanced.” Fred’s hometown paper, The Herald Palladium, praises Fred as someone who has “consistently fought against out-of-control spending and bigger government” and has “always treated constituent services as a vital part of his job.”
Fred’s top priorities are job creation and economic growth in southwest Michigan.
Fred strongly supports an “all of the above” energy strategy that puts a greater emphasis on domestic energy production, the advancement of breakthrough technologies, and the development of safe nuclear power. Fred has also been a leading opponent of overreaching federal regulations that stifle economic growth, harm jobs, and raise energy costs for Michigan families and businesses.
Fred values our constitutional system of government checks and balances. Fred is focused on ensuring the federal government remains limited, transparent, and accountable, as our Founding Fathers intended. As Energy and Commerce Chairman, Fred has led the over-year-long investigation of Solyndra, the now-bankrupt solar company that was the recipient of a half-billion dollar Department of Energy loan guarantee.
Fred has also worked to increase the deployment of telecommunications services as well as ensure that free speech and private innovation remain the hallmarks of this industry by opposing needless regulation. Fred helped oversee the successful transition from analog to digital broadcasting – one of the top priorities of the 9-11 Commission. Fred has also worked to guarantee that our children are protected from online predators and indecent material.
Fred has pushed for a greater emphasis on biomedical research to improve the public health. As Energy and Commerce Chairman, one of Fred’s top priorities is to repeal the President’s controversial healthcare law and replace it with commonsense, market-based reforms that benefit patients, doctors, and employers.
Fred was born on April 23, 1953 and holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Michigan. He and his wife Amey have two children.
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Statement with Congresswoman Diana DeGette marking #RareDiseaseDay: Throughout the course of our yearlong listening session for 21st Century
Always good to see Broncos in DC! Met up with Gabriella, President of the WMU College Republicans, during a #CPAC2015 meet and greet here on
We must take aggressive action to protect our Great Lakes from invasive species like Asian Carp. I look forward to working with my Michigan colleagues
In reference to the FCC's unprecedented regulation of the Internet: Resorting to Great Depression-era rules will trigger a stampede to the courts,