ST. JOSEPH, MI – 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
U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, released the following statement after the United States Board of Immigration granted Ibrahim Parlak his Motion to Reopen (MTR) his case to have his Convention Against Torture claim re-examined by an Immigration Judge. This MTR means that the 2004 order of removal is no longer final and Ibrahim is safe from being removed from the U.S. until this issue is resolved.
“This is a significant victory for our friend Ibrahim and yet another step in the right direction for his future. The dangers Ibrahim would face should he be deported to Turkey are unthinkable as the tensions between the Turkish government and the Kurdish community have grown increasingly worse. It has been a full team effort and we will continue working hard, on a bipartisan basis, to prevent Ibrahim’s unjust deportation from occurring.”
To learn more about Upton’s work to help Ibrahim Parlak, please click here.Read More
The problem of opioid abuse extends far beyond West Michigan.
Recognizing the need for a national response, Congress recently passed legislation aimed at curtailing what the Department of Health and Human Services labels “an unprecedented opioid epidemic.” On average, nearly 80 Americans die each day from overdoses involving prescription or illicit opioids, such as heroin.
It is estimated more than 2 million Americans are addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers and another 470,000 to heroin.
More Americans died from drug overdoses in 2014 than in any year on record, according to the DHHS, and more than six in 10 of those deaths involved opioids. Use of heroine has been on the rise. Even more alarming is the widespread abuse of prescription pain medication.
“(America’s opioid problem) doesn’t really discriminate against any one demographic,” Jane Longstreet, a mental health program supervisor with Ottawa County, said. “It’s a pretty equal-opportunity drug.”
Congress’ legislation, signed by the president in late July, seeks to address opioid abuse from a number of different angles.
It establishes a national task force for reviewing and updating best-practice guidelines for pain management, as well as for exploring pain management alternatives to opioids.
The legislation also aims to sow federal funding into evidence-based prevention, treatment and recovery programs.
“We have a thoughtful solution that attacks the opioid epidemic from all sides,” Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, said. “One that zeroes in on treatment for addiction and overdoses, reforms prescribing practices and works with law enforcement. For folks suffering in Southwest Michigan and across America who are desperate for relief, help is on the way.”
Upton chairs the U.S. House's Energy and Commerce Committee, which passed the lower chamber's opioid legislation. He also led the House and Senate conference meeting that finalized the bill package.
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, told the Associated Press that the bill authorizes $181 million in new spending and expects another nearly $500 million for opioid-related programs in the next budget.
Otherwise enjoying wide bipartisan support, the bill did stir some controversy, as Democrats, including President Barack Obama, demanded Republicans ensure funding for its provisions rather than waiting for a future spending bill. Republicans dismissed the concern.
“This is an authorization bill,” Portman said, according to the New York Times. “It authorizes more money than we’ve ever dreamed about for opioids.”
Longstreet said she sees the legislation as “very encouraging.” She praised several of its regulation tweaks, including one that will increase access to medication-assisted therapy.
On the bill’s funding, Longstreet gave a reserved opinion.
“It sounds like a lot,” she said. “For a problem as big as this, I’m not sure what to compare that amount to. It’s a start.”
Please click HERE to watch the news report from ABC 57.
National Night Out helps Berrien County heal weeks after deadly shooting
By Vahid Sadrzadeh
BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. -
Three weeks ago, tragedy struck Berrien County, taking the lives of two court bailiffs and wounding two others.
On Tuesday night, another chance to heal and celebrate those who put their lives on the line every day.
“We’re still sad, we’re still missing our friends. We will for quite some time,” said Berrien County Sherriff Paul Bailey.
A time to heal. A time to move on.
On this day Sheriff Paul Bailey can smile.
“They would want us to move on and do good things for Berrien County and that’s what we’re doing.”
As part of the National Night Out community members in Benton Harbor came together to meet, interact and see law enforcement in a different light.
Joyce Robinson is the President of National Night Out Benton Manor.
“That’s the purpose of this, to build the gap between law enforcement and the community. And to let people know in the community, that law enforcement is not as bad as they think,” said Robinson.
Bonding black and white, old and young and children and officers.
“This instills in our young people, the idea of going in to a career pathway as it relates to law enforcement. Because now I can talk to the police, I can touch the police, you know what I can be a police officer. This lays the foundation for that,” said Benton Harbor Mayor, Marcus Muhammad.
Congressman Fred Upton says it shows children they can live and work in their own communities.
“We want homegrown law enforcement folks if we can get them. And that’s really critical for every community,” said Upton.
An important event at the right time, as the community heals from the courthouse tragedy.
“I think it’s important, this event here. The march the day after the shooting . The community support not only here but Riverview Park in St. Joe, very positive for those that put their lives on the line every day,” said Upton.
Those like Ron Kienzle and Joe Zangaro and their friend Sherrif Paul Bailey.
“As a community we come together and we are going to heal the best way we can. But we are going to miss Ron and Joe for a long, long time,” said Bailey.
Relatives of both surviving victims of the shooting, Kenya Ellis and James Atterbury,Jr. tell ABC 57 News they are both still in the healing process and not ready to speak publicly, as they try to put the events of three weeks ago behind them.Read More
Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, today released the following statement on the news that Western Michigan University President John Dunn had announced his retirement date:
“Over the past nine years, John Dunn has been a trusted friend and advisor. From the launch of the WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine, to his work on behalf of military veterans and foster care youth – our entire community is stronger thanks to his passion and work ethic. President Dunn’s obvious commitment and respect to Western Michigan University, the Kalamazoo Community, and our entire Southwest Michigan region was as apparent from the first moment I met him as it is today. I wish him, and his wife Linda, a happy retirement and thank them both for their service to our community.”Read More
July 27, 2016
Addressing the Opioid Crisis
By Fred Upton
The simple truth is that we’re in the middle of an opioid abuse epidemic. Nearly every 12 minutes, someone in America dies of a drug overdose and the Centers for Disease Control reports that more than a quarter billion opioid prescriptions were written in 2012 alone. Abuse of opioids has impacted every community. In my home state of Michigan, we are enduring 10 times as many deaths today as there were 15 years ago. Indiana was ranked 16th nationally for drug overdose deaths in 2013.
Our efforts to address this opioid crisis date back to 2015. We started with bipartisan hearings and round tables — listening to experts, stakeholders, individuals in recovery, and families as to what we in Congress could do to stem the tide of this epidemic and help those in real need. Folks on the front lines traveled to Washington to testify, including Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz.
What we heard was eye-opening. One area of agreement was that these dangerous drugs must not get into the hands our kids. Nearly 800,000 children between the ages of 12 and 17 tried opioids for the first time within the past year. We also agreed that our legislation should not unjustly penalize patients who legally use opioids to alleviate chronic pain.
Recently, the House of Representatives advanced a conference report for S. 524, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, by a vote of 407-5. I was proud to chair the conference committee that worked to get the details of this package right — ironing out the differences between the House and Senate packages in an effort to achieve consensus. What our package will do is attack this public health crisis from all sides, from zeroing in on treatment for addiction and overdoses, to reforming prescribing practices and the delivery of medicines, and working with our law enforcement. We also made a targeted funding authorization of $181 million to help on a wide array of opioid abuse efforts.
Because of our common-sense approach, our package achieved the support of more than 250 of the nation’s leading addiction advocacy groups. Then, last week, the U.S. Senate advanced our package by a vote of 92-2. Last week, President Obama signed the comprehensive package into law.
Lives are at stake, and this critical legislation will help make a real difference.
Click here to read online.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, released the following statement after President Obama signed sweeping bipartisan legislation to fight the nation’s opioid epidemic into law Friday:
“In the face of a surging crisis, we came together and got the job done. We have a thoughtful solution that attacks the opioid epidemic from all sides – one that zeros in on treatment for addiction and overdoses, reforms prescribing practices, and works with law enforcement. For folks suffering in Southwest Michigan and across America who are desperate for relief, help is on the way.”
The legislation includes over a dozen bills passed by the Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Upton. Upton also chaired the House and Senate conference meeting that finalized the comprehensive package. Earlier this month the House voted 407 to 5 and the Senate voted 92-2 in support of the consensus bill.
For more information, please click here.Read More
“As Michiganders, pipeline safety is an issue that hits especially close to home. Pipelines are critical to the essential transportation of our energy resources, but when a catastrophe can strike in the blink of an eye, we must be prepared and we must hold those responsible accountable. In the wake of this tragic spill, we got to work on new standards – the toughest on the books – to ensure something like this can never happen again, anywhere. I applaud our local leaders and all of the stakeholders for their commitment to restoring our natural resources.”
In 2011, Upton and Michigan Democrat John Dingell came together to work on bipartisan legislation that made vital updates and improvements to our nation’s pipeline infrastructure. The law also increased inspection and accountability requirements for those responsible for spills. The bipartisan legislation was signed into law by the president.
In June of 2016 the reauthorization of the 2011 law, the Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2016 was signed into law by the president. The reauthorization built upon the 2011 law and included specific transparency provisions related to the Line 5 pipeline, which runs under the Straits of Mackinac.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, joined House and Senate leadership this morning to take part in an enrollment ceremony for S. 524, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. Upton chaired the Conference Committee that reported the final bipartisan, bicameral package – marking the first time in his career he has chaired such a Conference.
“I was proud to chair the Conference Committee that reported this important legislation aimed at helping folks facing real crisis,” said Upton. “Our community in Southwest Michigan, and communities across the country, are facing an urgent problem, and we came together to get the job done. I am hopeful and confident that President Obama will follow our lead and sign this package into law soon. Lives are at stake, and this critical legislation will help make a difference.”Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, took to the floor of the House of Representatives this afternoon to speak on yesterday’s Berrien County Courthouse tragedy.
Click HERE or above to watch the video
Additionally, Upton released a statement on the tragedy yesterday which can be found here.
Full remarks, as prepared, can also be found below:
Mr. Speaker, it is with deep sadness that I ask for Unanimous Consent to address the House for the purpose of a one-minute speech.
Southwest Michigan has had some tough times lately. Now, we’re faced with the news that broke yesterday that two bailiffs at the Berrien County Courthouse in my hometown of St. Joseph, Michigan, were slain by an inmate who had overpowered his guards.
And so I rise today to offer support and love for the victims’ friends, family, and for our entire community. We should continue to keep those affected in our hearts, and in our minds. I also want to thank the countless folks on the front lines who clearly prevented this tragedy from being even worse than it was. The swift actions of those on the ground deserve to be commended – particularly the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department led by Sheriff Paul Bailey. I was with him just this past Saturday. What he has had to endure over the past 24 hours is unthinkable.
I also want to thank the immediate action and outpouring of support from our local officials; St. Joseph Mayor Mike Garey, Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad and State elected officials; Governor Rick Snyder, John Proos, and Al Pscholka. It’s times like these when we all unite as one. This heartbreaking tragedy happened in the blink of an eye, but we will never forget…
We will remember and honor Joseph Zangaro, who I knew personally, who was the head of courthouse security and a retired Michigan State Police officer.
We will remember and honor Ronald Kienzle, a U.S. Army veteran and a retired Benton Township Police officer.
I ask my colleagues and those who hear this message across the country to pray for the families of the two victims, and for the speedy recovery of another deputy, James Atterberry, and a civilian caught in the middle, Kenya Ellis.
We will get through this – together. Thank you and I yield back.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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Some more pictures from a great hike on the North Country Trail #NPS100
Got a great taste of #PureMichigan this morning at the W.K. Kellogg Experimental Forest in Augusta. Couldn't think of a better way to celebrate
Enjoyed touring the Michigan Milk Producers Association plant in Constantine!
Honored to receive the Victor I. Howery Memorial Award from the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability
Had a great time today at Homer Stryker Field for the Crayons 4 Kids benefit concert! #C4KConcert