U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, today took to the House Floor to recognize Suicide Prevention Month. Upton highlighted his personal experiences with suicide, the third annual Gryphon Place Suicide Prevention Walk that takes place in Kalamazoo, Michigan, as well as the bipartisan mental health reform legislation the House advanced in July.
“Last week, I was in Kalamazoo’s Bronson Park for the Gryphon Place Suicide Prevention Walk,” said Upton. “A beautiful young woman named Kait stood before the crowd of more than 100 and she read a stirring poem she had written about being bullied and, as a result, how she harbored thoughts about suicide. Hearing her deeply personal story broke everyone’s hearts. And as a father of two young adults my thoughts quickly turned to them. When she finished, I followed up with her and told her she’s not alone. Anyone considering suicide or having suicidal thoughts should know the same: You are not alone and there is always help and options available. Suicide is not an issue that can linger in the shadows. We must confront it and the underlying issues behind it – together.”
Click HERE to watch Upton's full remarks.
Upton’s remarks, as prepared, can be found here.
Kait’s stirring poem, as prepared, can be found here.Read More
The House of Representatives late Tuesday advanced bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph. The legislation, H.R. 5944, would update and modernize the leasing programs necessary to keep National Guard units and Air Force Remote Pilot Aircraft (RPA) operations on airfields where they are already operating. The legislation was co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins, D-New York.
“This important, bipartisan solution helps our National Guard and Air Force continue to evolve into the 21st Century and beyond as Remote Piloted Aircraft become one of the most reliable tools in our toolbox to fight terrorism abroad,” said Upton. “We cannot risk disturbing these critical missions by moving or eliminating the capability of National Guard and Air Force personnel simply because of outdated laws. With our bipartisan fix, airfields will have certainty and missions will not be disrupted. This legislation will save taxpayer dollars as well as lives.”
Under current law, there is no recognition of RPA missions by the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) leasing program that would allow National Guard and Air Force units to continue operating as they have in the past because of a requirement for aircraft to be on site at the airfield. Under the new bill, National Guard and Air Force units that include either remote control or direct take-off of RPAs would be able to continue operations at their home airfields at the same leasing rate as before. The legislative solution was jointly developed by Upton, the National Guard, Air Force, and FAA, and has been approved by the FAA Office of the Administrator for Airports.
“Congressman Fred Upton continues to go above and beyond by recognizing Battle Creek’s defense community and its important role in creating and retaining jobs and investment,” said Joe Sobieralski, interim president and chief executive officer of Battle Creek Unlimited, the area’s economic development organization. “Congressman Upton’s latest legislation, which allows communities to negotiate a fair rate that benefits both the military and the local community, underscores his understanding of the importance of jobs and military missions in Battle Creek and the region.”
Remote Piloted Aircraft (RPA) provide key intelligence, reconnaissance, and close air combat support.
To read a fact sheet on H.R. 5499 and to see how it will positively impact Southwest Michigan, please click here.
U.S. Rep. Fred Upton on Monday announced the opening of his recently relocated constituent service office in Kalamazoo. The office has moved from its former location to 350 E. Michigan Avenue, Suite 130, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 49007. The office telephone and fax machine numbers remains unchanged.
“We’re excited about our move as it will allow us to better serve everyone here in our Kalamazoo community,” said Upton. “One of my most vital responsibilities as a Member of Congress is providing assistance to folks who are facing difficulties in dealing with the federal government. Whether you are a veteran trying to access duly earned benefits or obtain overdue service medals, a senior with questions or concerns about your Medicare or Social Security, or a family awaiting their passports before a big trip, I have dedicated staff members ready to assist and get the job done. Our door is always open and we look forward to continuing serving you.”
Upton represents Michigan’s Sixth Congressional District which encompasses all of Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, Van Buren counties as well as most of Allegan County. Upton operates two full-time constituent service office that provide assistance and resources to all Southwest Michigan residents and businesses in dealing with the federal government. Upton’s second service office is located in St. Joseph/Benton Harbor.
Updated Office Contact Information
Kalamazoo (New Location)
350 E. Michigan Avenue, Suite 130
Kalamazoo, MI 49907
(269) 385-2888 (f)
St. Joseph/Benton Harbor
720 Main Street
St. Joseph, MI 49085
(269) 982-0237 (f)
2183 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
(202) 225-4986 (f)Read More
Members of the Michigan Congressional delegation today sent a letter to Vice Admiral James D. Syring, Director of the Missile Defense Agency, to voice their strong support of Fort Custer Training Center, one of three locations under consideration for a possible Continental United States Interceptor Site. The letter was signed by U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, U.S. Representative Fred Upton, U.S. Senator Gary Peters, U.S. Representative Brenda Lawrence, U.S. Representative Candice Miller, U.S. Representative Mike Bishop, U.S. Representative Bill Huizenga, U.S. Representative Dan Benishek, U.S. Representative John Moolenaar, U.S. Representative Tim Walberg, U.S. Representative Dan Kildee, U.S. Representative Dave Trott, U.S. Representative Sander Levin, U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell, and U.S. Representative John Conyers.
“Since 1917, Fort Custer has played an integral part in training our Armed Forces for vital national security missions. It supports over 190,000 training mandays annually, hosts nine tenants, including the Army, Marine, and Naval reserves, and stands ready to take on this new mission,” the delegation writes in the letter. “Locating the interceptor at Fort Custer would bring a welcomed $3.2 billion in economic impact, including $700 million in new construction. It would also employ 300 jobs directly and up to 1,800 support jobs. Given all of these considerations, we strongly support Fort Custer Training Center as the preferred Continental United States Interceptor Site and look forward to staying engaged as the selection process continues.”
A full copy of the letter is available below.
September 19, 2016
Vice Admiral James D. Syring
Director, Missile Defense Agency
5700 18th Street, Bldg 245
Fort Belvoir, VA 22060
Dear Vice Admiral Syring,
It’s our understanding that you have completed your assessment of the environmental impacts for a missile defense Interceptor Site at Fort Custer Training Center, one of three remaining locations under consideration. The assessment showed that the environmental impacts for placing an interceptor at Fort Custer would be minimal and that unlike the other sites, Fort Custer would not require additional surveys or cause significant harm to protected species or habitats.
As you know, the community had the opportunity to meet with the Missile Defense Agency, ask questions about the draft assessment, and submit remarks before the public comment period closed on August 17. We have heard from numerous organizations and leaders in the community, and want to emphasize the strong local support for Fort Custer as the host location.
Since 1917, Fort Custer has played an integral part in training our Armed Forces for vital national security missions. It supports over 190,000 training mandays annually, hosts nine tenants, including the Army, Marine, and Naval reserves, and stands ready to take on this new mission.
Fort Custer has taken tremendous strides to increase its energy efficiency by installing solar fields and a wind funnel to generate electrical power. These innovative developments help make Fort Custer a cost-effective option for the interceptor site.
Locating the interceptor at Fort Custer would bring a welcomed $3.2 billion in economic impact, including $700 million in new construction. It would also employ 300 jobs directly and up to 1,800 support jobs.
Given all of these considerations, we strongly support Fort Custer Training Center as the preferred Continental United States Interceptor Site and look forward to staying engaged as the selection process continues.
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow
U.S. Representative Fred Upton
U.S. Senator Gary C. Peters
U.S. Representative Brenda L. Lawrence
U.S. Representative Candice S. Miller
U.S. Representative Mike Bishop
U.S. Representative Bill Huizenga
U.S. Representative Dan Benishek
U.S. Representative John Moolenaar
U.S. Representative Tim Walberg
U.S. Representative Dan Kildee
U.S. Representative Dave Trott
U.S. Representative Sander Levin
U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell
U.S. Representative John Conyers
CC: Secretary CarterRead More
U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, released the following statement after the House of Representatives advanced H.R. 5351, To prohibit the transfer of any individual detained at United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by a bipartisan vote of 244 to 174.
“Those held at Guantanamo are not ordinary criminals – they are hardened extremists in the midst of an endless war against our country, our citizens, and our values. President Obama should instead try working with us to bolster our national security and combat terrorism. Freeing any of these additional detainees would put American lives at risk. I’m proud to support these efforts to block to the Obama administration from prematurely freeing any more detainees from Guantanamo.”
H.R. 5351 would block all transfers of Guantanamo Bay detainees through the end of the president’s term in office, or until the FY17 National Defense Authorization Act is signed into law, whichever happens first.
In June, the Washington Post reported that at least 12 detainees released have been implicated in attacks against the United States or allied forces, killing about a half-dozen Americans.
The Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade on Wednesday held a bipartisan hearing focused on advanced robots, and specifically the success of the STEM education program, FIRST Robotics. FIRST stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.” The program has grown from 20 to more than 45,000 teams nationwide since it was founded in 1989. Michigan has by far the highest number of FIRST teams per capita in the country. The hearing brought together educators, industry, and stakeholders in exploring the future of advanced robotics applications, educational initiatives, and how the United States is positioned to leverage these innovations in the future.
“I have a personal relationship with FIRST Robotics and am a very proud supporter. From the St. Joseph ‘Average Joes’ team to the ‘2767 Stryke Force’ team in Kalamazoo, innovative STEM programs – like FIRST Robotics – allows for kids in our communities to dream big and aspire to become inventors, engineers, small business owners, and community leaders,” said Upton. “I’ve been to numerous competitions across the state, and I’m always impressed with what the kids come up with. It’s inspiring and refreshing to see kids inspired by science.”
“FIRST Robotics has helped so many kids here in St. Joseph High School develop science, technology, engineering, and math skills and confidence over the years it’s been incredible,” noted Vic Vroegop, instructor of the “Average Joe” team at St. Joseph HS. “It has literally changed the culture at our school and our community. It has provided a vehicle where students can apply what they have learned in all of their classes, consult with mentors who are professionals in their respective fields and come up with real world engineering solutions for the FIRST yearly challenge. I want to thank Dean Kamen and Fred Upton for their support of this awesome program that has created such opportunity for our kids.”
“We like to call FIRST Robotics the ultimate sport for the mind and it has such an amazing impact for participants who go from FIRST to leading the way in the classroom and beyond,” commented Gervea Ornopia, STEM advocate and teacher at Berrien Springs Middle School “It gives high school students the opportunity to work and create something together to solve a common problem. Having a champion for our team and program in Congress like Fred Upton sets a great example for our young adults.”
“Dean Kamen and Fred Upton’s testimony before Congress reiterates what we already know: Robots are cool and kids are flocking to FIRST to be part of this innovative STEM program,” said Dale Quattrin, instructor of the Coloma HS CW Tech Robotarians. “Fred has been a long-time supporter of FIRST and we appreciate his support and encouragement. It’s important to meet kids where they are – whether it be in the classroom or through inventive programs like FIRST.”
Upton is also the co-sponsor of bipartisan legislation that would use the sale of a commemorative coin for astronaut Christa McAullife, who was tragically lost in the Challenger disaster, to raise money for FIRST programs in Southwest Michigan and across the country. You can learn more about this legislation here.Read More
The Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology on Tuesday advanced bipartisan legislation, H.R. 2566, the Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act of 2015, by a unanimous vote. This important legislation, championed by U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, will address persistent problems folks have in Southwest Michigan and across the country with rural call completion issues. These calls completion issues have a negative impact on local small businesses and can pose a threat to public safety when important messages go undelivered.
“It’s never been easier to pick up the phone and dial a number to be in touch with friends and loved ones, no matter where they are in the country. But for those living in rural areas right here in Southwest Michigan and across the country, this connection isn’t always guaranteed,” said Upton. “It’s time we set higher standards for the integrity of our networks, but more importantly for the benefit of folks who need it here at home. I have heard directly from providers in my district as well as local small businesses that this is an issue of great importance and demands action. This bipartisan legislation takes meaningful action to address this problem and I’m proud to support it.”
Sid Shank, Government Policy Coordinator at Acentek, a communications and information technology firm serving primarily rural areas in the Midwest, commented, “I applaud Congressman Upton and his colleagues for tackling this tough issue. Despite amazing advances in technology in recent years, there are still many folks living in rural areas that experience problems with call quality. We know we can do better and today Congress took the first steps to achieving that goal.”
H.R. 2566 requires intermediate telecommunications providers to register with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and comply with the service quality standards set by the agency. It would amend the Communications Act of 1934 to ensure the integrity of voice communications and to prevent unjust or unreasonable discrimination among areas of the United States in the delivery of such communications.
The legislation now moves towards consideration of the full committee.Read More
U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, on Tuesday joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives in voting to advance H.R. 5587, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act by a 405 to 5 vote. This bipartisan legislation reforms, modernizes, and reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Act.
Since 1984, the Carl D. Perkins Act has provided federal support to state and local career and technical education (CTE) programs. These innovative programs – spearheaded at the state and local level – offer students the opportunity to gain the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to compete for good-paying jobs in a broad range of fields. Unfortunately, federal law has not been updated in more than a decade, and no longer reflects the realities and challenges facing students and workers in the 21st century economy. This reauthorization provides need improvements that empowers state and local community leaders by simplifying the application process for receiving federal funds, improves alignment with in-demand jobs, increases transparency and accountability to ensure CTE programs deliver results, and ensures a limited federal role.
“More and more we see young adults craving hands-on training experiences that give them the opportunities to not only learn things, but to actually do things,” said Upton. “Career and technical education programs are tantamount in providing those needed skills required to be successful in the workforce, and in higher education. In order to grow our middle class, we need to support CTE programs that help countless students prepare for well-paying careers.”
H.R. 5587 is supported by numerous groups and organizations including the American Association of Community Colleges, the Business Roundtable, IBM, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Education Association, the National School Boards Association, the School Superintendents Association, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. To see a full list of supporters, and to read their letters of support, please click here.
To read a detailed summary of H.R. 5587, please click here.Read More
U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives on Tuesday in voting to advance H.R. 5578, the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act of 2016, by a unanimous 399-0 vote. The bipartisan bill, introduced by U.S. Reps. Mimi Walters, R-California, and Zoe Lofgren, D-California, provides stronger protections and greater access to legal remedies for survivors of sexual assaults.
According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network), on average there are 288,820 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year here in the United States. Yet, oftentimes rape kits, which contain key pieces of evidence, are never tested. Under current law, some basic rights that protect survivors of sexual assaults vary greatly between each state and federal statue.
“Sexual assault survivors have been through enough. Their kits and their rights must be protected by law,” said Upton. “The survivors have faced a patchwork of rules that didn’t always provide the help and information they need to ensure a fair legal process. The House of Representatives on Tuesday smoothed the way for them to maintain their basic rights as they seek justice.”
H.R. 5578 ensures that that sexual assault survivors in federal criminal cases have a right to; a sexual assault evidence kit (rape kit), be notified in writing before the kit is destroyed, request preservation of the kit, and be informed of important results from a forensic examination. The legislation also requires the U.S. Attorney General and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to convene a joint working group to determine best practices regarding the care and treatment of sexual assault survivors and the preservation of forensic evidence.Read More
U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, on Monday was awarded the Outstanding Legislative Leader Award from the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Development Disability Directors and the National Association for Rural Mental Health. The prestigious award is given to honor federal legislators who demonstrate outstanding courage and leadership in advancing legislation that promotes the well-being of those with mental health, substance use, and intellectual development/developmental disability conditions.
“For too long, issues related to mental health have been relegated to the shadows – but no more,” said Upton. “These are concerns that impact every community, and so many families, in one way or another. I was proud to work on a bipartisan bill that would seriously address many of these issues and we worked hard to get it through the House. Our efforts will continue. I know that by working together, we can make a real difference for families here in Southwest Michigan.”
“Fred Upton’s hard work payed off when the bill he championed that helps remove the stigma associated with mental illness passed the House and I’m so proud that he’s my representative.” said Elizabeth O’Dell, chief executive officer of Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services of St. Joseph County.
“Chairman Upton has shown outstanding bipartisan leadership throughout the 114th Congress in successfully shepherding the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act though the Energy and Commerce Committee and through the House,” noted Ron Manderscheid, executive director of the NACBHDD. “Through careful and determined leadership, in collaboration with Rep. Frank Pallone, D-NJ, the Ranking Member of the Committee, Chairman Upton was able to modify a very controversial bill into one that ultimately was able to pass the House on a 422 to 2 vote. This is a very exceptional accomplishment. We are delighted to recognize the Chairman for this very important work.”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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Last week, I was in Kalamazoo’s Bronson Park for the annual Gryphon Place Suicide Prevention Walk. A beautiful young woman named Kait stood
Some of my staff are at the Veterans Stand Down taking place today to help homeless veterans in Kalamazoo County. If you are a veteran, a family
Volunteering at the USO care package assembly line this morning - a great call to action to enhance the morale and well being of our brave men
Was an honor to speak at the Therapeutic Equestrian Center's 10th Anniversary Festival! 10 years offering programs to enhance the lives of people
Was an honor to be part of the Autism Center for Excellence opening. This really does put our Kalamazoo community on the map for autism research.