Tim Walberg

Tim Walberg


Dingell, Walberg Statement on Ongoing Contamination Issue at Ann Arbor VA


WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Representatives Debbie Dingell (MI-12) and Tim Walberg (MI-07) today released the following statement on the ongoing contamination issue at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System. Dingell and Walberg have been in constant communication with the VA since being alerted that surgeries continue to be canceled or moved to different facilities because particulate matter has been observed on sterile surgical equipment.

“The number one priority for all of us is to ensure that veterans receive the highest quality health care. When we were alerted that the contamination issue at the Ann Arbor VA Hospital continues to persist, we met with Acting Director Eric Young and other members of the senior leadership team last weekend to be briefed on the status of the investigation. We also discussed which experts have been consulted and their findings, what steps are being taken to identify and correct the source of the contamination, what is the impact on patient care, and how we can help. Our responsibility as Members of Congress is to be a voice and advocate for veterans, and we are committed to ensuring that the VA has the resources needed to determine the source of the problem and address it.

“The staff at the Ann Arbor VA is a dedicated group of individuals. This issue came to light because they were doing their job inspecting surgical instruments and discovered the problem. To be clear, it does not appear that the particulate issue has caused an infection or harm to a patient. We believe it is important that, like other hospitals, the VA be open and transparent and report the number of patients that have acquired surgical infections while receiving care at the VA, and the number of surgeries that have been canceled or moved to another hospital. As a result, we will be introducing legislation this week that will increase reporting requirements for VA Hospitals to improve transparency.”

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WLNS: Those affected by heroin addiction share their stories at Jackson High School


On average, one person dies every two weeks from a heroin overdose in Jackson County.

Christopher Risner was a user.

“I definitely have the disease of addiction,” said Risner.

He started taking opiates when he was 17 years old. The former high school basketball star had scholarships to multiple college, but threw it all away because the addiction was that powerful.

Risner said, “you’re not going to be able to stop on your own. I know. I have been to rehab four times. When you’re out there using and you’re dope sick, it really isn’t a choice whether you use or not because the cards are so stacked against you.”

How bad is the problem?

Jackson Police responded to two calls for heroin just this weekend. They were treated at Henry Ford Allegiance Health and survived. But, some aren’t so lucky.

Andy’s Angels Founder Michael Hirst lost his son to addiction.

“It quickly destroyed his entire life. He went from a nice young kid who graduated from high school, who worked for me, who had everything going for him, to somebody who died in an outhouse on a construction site four years later,” said Hirst.

Ever since, he’s led a crusade to bring more awareness to this growing epidemic.

Hirst said, “it’s not something that’s going to go away. The fact of the matter is you have a better chance of surviving most cancers than you do of getting off Heroin.”

Prompting the panel to target high schoolers . . . get early exposure that will lead to more education.

Rep. Tim Walberg said, “we had the privilege of having a guy who is fighting this addiction himself so far and is now being successful. He wants to share that. That’s a powerful message to high school students as well as community members who came in.”

The panel members know the work never stops when it comes to attacking addiction head on.

Click here for the original story from WLNS.com. Read More

Walberg: Our Veterans Deserve Better Care and Leadership


Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tim Walberg (MI-07) released the following statement in response to Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald’s comparison today of wait lines for VA medical care to wait times at Disney.

“Excessive wait times at the VA are a life and death matter. Secretary McDonald’s flippant comment is stunningly out of touch and demonstrates why trust in the VA’s leadership continues to erode. We cannot lose sight of the significant reforms needed at the VA so our nation’s veterans get access to the timely, high quality care that they deserve,” said Congressman Walberg.

In direct contrast to Secretary McDonald’s remark, today the House passed several bipartisan bills to make reforms at the VA to help our veterans and their families, including:

H.R. 3956 - VA Health Center Management Stability and Improvement Act
Directs the Department of Veterans Affairs to develop and implement a plan to hire a director for each VA medical center without a permanent director.

H.R. 3989 - Support Our Military Caregivers Act
Reforms the Department of Veterans Affairs Family Caregiver Program to help better support family members caring for seriously wounded veterans.

H.R. 5229 - Improving Transition Programs for All Veterans Act
Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a study to evaluate the effectiveness of the Transition Assistance Program in assisting veterans as they prepare to transition to civilian life.

Congressman Walberg serves on the House Education and the Workforce Committee as Chair of the Workforce Protections Subcommittee. In addition, he serves on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. For more information on Walberg’s work in Congress visit walberg.house.gov.

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WLNS: Heroin epidemic in focus in Jackson County


Every two weeks an average of one person dies of an opioid overdose in Jackson County.

That number surprised a number of people at a heroin forum being held today at the Jackson High School library.

The forum, headed by Congressman Tim Walberg, brought together health officials, law enforcement, former addicts and members of the public to focus attention on the size and scope of the heroin problem in Jackson.

Jackson County Sheriff Steve Rand shared the number of deaths in the county and added arresting people will not stop the problem. Sheriff Rand suggested raising awareness is a key to controlling the epidemic.

Henry Ford Allegiance Health Dr. Rami Khoury told the group that Michigan is the tenth highest ranked state in terms of heroin-opioid use. He added he sees children as young as 12 years old “popping pills”.

The reality of opioid addiction was made very real when recovering addict Christopher Risner told his story. He said he was 17 when he began taking Vicodin. Eventually he was kicked off his high school basketball team because of his drug use. Risner said at one point he to 88 Percocets in two days to avoid drug sickness brought on by his addiction.

6 News Jackson bureau reporter Joe Gebhardt is at the hearing and will have updates online and on 6 News tonight.

Click here for the original story from WLNS.com. Read More

Adrian Daily Telegram: Our View: End property seizure without actual proof


You’re innocent until proven guilty, and government can’t have your property without just compensation or proven guilt. Those are two of Americans’ most fundamental rights.

Those rights are crumbling at the federal level, however, due to something known as “civil asset forfeiture.” Under it, officials can claim money or other property was involved in illegal activity, and owners are forced to prove their property is “innocent” to get it back:

■ An in-depth series by The Washington Post titled “Stop and Seize” showed how thousands of Americans have had more than $2.5 billion seized since 2001 without a warrant or ever being charged.

■ Drug agents last year boarded an Amtrak train and took the life savings of a 22-year-old Romulus musician, all without any charges. Citizens without money are especially at risk because court fights to recover their property are expensive.

■ Terry Dehko, a 70-year-old Michigan grocer, had $35,000 seized by the IRS in 2013 without ever being charged. It took a year of court appeals to get it back.

■ In March, Oklahoma deputies took $53,000 from an American citizen from Burma, saying they suspected it was drug money. The man, Eh Wah, was from a Christian music band raising money for a Burmese orphanage.

■ This year in Michigan, a man accused but never convicted of a marriage scam finally received most of his seized money back after 2 1⁄2 years — minus $15,000. A federal prosecutor justified keeping that, saying “we determined that a small percentage of the funds seized should be forfeited.”

In fact, civil forfeitures have from jumped from $27 million in 1985 to more than $5 billion today. The total value of property seized by federal law enforcement in 2014 exceeded the annual amount taken by burglars.

Few people may object to seizing illegally used assets when warrants are issued with clear evidence of a crime, or against millionaire drug kingpins. Yet most asset seizures involve less than $10,000, and require a much lower level of evidentiary proof.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder did sign a package of state laws last year limiting asset seizure. One of the cases state lawmakers heard involved a Michigan mother with multiple sclerosis whose car, iPhones, children’s iPad and more were taken by authorities in a 2014 medical marijuana raid. Charges were thrown out, but it took Ginnifer Hency more than a year for most of her property to be returned.

State laws don’t block federal officials, though, who often work with local state agencies under a loophole known as the “equitable sharing” program. Sidestepping state restrictions, it returns up to 80 percent of proceeds to local law enforcement. The Obama administration’s Justice Department suspended the payments in December, but then flip-flopped and resumed them in March.

This is why Congress must pass laws banning this, rather than relying on easily changed Justice Department policies.

U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, last year introduced the Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration (FAIR) Act to halt some of the abusive incentives. Among other things, it would raise the standard of proof to the same used in criminal cases and curtail “equitable sharing.” The FAIR Act has 94 bi-partisan co-sponsors.

On Thursday, several of its features were included in a similar measure introduced in the House Judiciary Committee by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R.-Wis., titled the Deterring Undue Enforcement by Protecting Rights of Citizens from Excessive Searches and Seizures (DUE PROCESS) Act of 2016. It would also require legal representation for poor defendants seeking to recover their property, and would shift the burden of proof back to the government. It would not, however, end equitable sharing.

Due to equitable sharing’s abuse in evading state limits, Rep. Walberg’s bill is preferable and would be an important reform. Both bills contain overdue steps toward stemming property seizures without ever needing to prove guilt.

Congress should pass these reforms this year and President Obama should sign them into law. Civil asset seizure power can be useful to fight crime but, like all unchecked power, tends to corrupt.

This editorial originally appeared in the May 22 edition of the Adrian Daily Telegram. Read More

Hillsdale Daily News: Congress takes action to reform civil asset forfeiture laws


This week in the United States Congress, the Judiciary Committee introduced bipartisan legislation — the Due Process Act — to curb civil asset forfeiture abuse.

According to the Heritage Foundation, civil asset forfeiture is defined as a "legal tool that allows law enforcement officials to seize property that they assert has been involved in certain criminal activity."

The site continues to say that the owner of the property doesn't even need to be guilty of a crime because proceedings charge the property itself with involvement in a crime.

The Hillsdale Justice Project, a local non-profit judicial watchdog, frequently discusses civil asset forfeiture laws in their weekly meetings, as current laws allow law enforcement to seize one's property without ever being charged with a crime.

The HJP is against the current laws, saying they circumvent an individual's rights to due process in a court of law, since property can be seized without a person having been convicted of a crime.

The laws were introduced to provide an additional law enforcement tool to target organized crime and drug dealers; however, the laws have been applied as far as the Internal Revenue Service seizing personal property for back taxes without a day in court.

The Constitution of the United States guarantees a person's right to due process. Every week, both Hillsdale County District Court Judge Sara S. Lisznyai and Hillsdale County Circuit Court Judge Michael R. Smith reiterate these constitutional rights when arraigning those charged with crimes.

Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI), introduced the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act on July 28, 2014, and the next day, spoke at a panel at the Heritage Foundation to discuss civil asset forfeiture reform.

In an op-ed published Sept. 4, 2014, in the Washington Post, Congressman Walberg said, "In a country founded on principles of due process and property rights, no one should be comfortable with a system that allows law enforcement to seize personal property without a finding of guilt."

On Jan. 27, 2015, Congressman Walberg and Senator Rand Paul introduced the Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration Act, aimed at reigning in the IRS civil asset forfeiture.

"It would bolster protections for property and property owners by raising the level of proof necessary for the federal government to prove a civil asset forfeiture case — requiring that the IRS and Department of Justice prove guilt, rather than the individual prove innocence," Rand and Walberg opined in a January 2015 column published by CNN.

The bipartisan legislation introduced this week by the judiciary committee includes key provisions of Walberg and Rand's 2015 FAIR Act.

On May 19, speaking in regards to the judiciary committee's legislation, Walberg said, "For two years, I have sounded the alarm about an unjust system that allows the government to seize and individual's private property without filing criminal charges."

"It's wrong and runs contrary to our nation's constitutional founding principles," Walberg continued. "I'm encouraged to see the judiciary committee more the process forward today by introducing bipartisan legislation mirroring many of the forfeiture reforms I've been calling for."

The Due Process Act is set for discussion in the judiciary committee of the House of Representatives, and Walberg "looks forward to continuing to work with them to get it signed into law."

Walberg serves on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and is a staunch believer in the Constitution and giving more power back to the states.

This article originally appeared in the May 21 edition of the Hillsdale Daily News. Read More

Coldwater Daily Reporter: U.S. House passes heroin, opiods legislation


Seventh district Michigan Congressman Tim Walberg saw one of his co-sponsored bills pass the house last week amid a series to fight opiod and heroin drug abuse.

"There have been more victims in this battle than should be called criminals," Walberg said. "What we have been doing has not been working. There is a better way."

Walberg had helped introduce a bi-partisan bill to strengthen safeguards to ensure infants born into a life of drug addiction are safely cared for and protected.

H.R. 4843, the Infant Plan of Safe Care Improvement Act, will strengthen efforts to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect by requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure states are following current child welfare requirements.

“Like many families in Michigan, I have witnessed the damaging effects heroin and opioid addiction is having on our communities, and the House is taking bipartisan action to find solutions to this public health crisis from every angle,” Walberg said.

“Some of the most heartbreaking stories involve drug-dependent newborns who enter the world with all the odds stacked against them,” Walberg said. "As part of our comprehensive response, this bipartisan bill will strengthen the child welfare system to ensure vulnerable infants don’t slip through the cracks, and their caregivers can get the help they need."

In addition to the Infant Plan of Safe Care Improvement Act, the House has also passed the following legislation so far this week to combat the opioid epidemic, including establishing an inter-agency task force to review prescribing best practices, making it safer for veterans to seek pain management care.

They include:

H.R. 4063 Jason Simcakoski PROMISE Act, improves the use of opioid therapy and pain management in treating veterans.

H.R. 5048 Good Samaritan Assessment Act directs GAO to study state and local Good Samaritan laws that protect caregivers, law enforcement personnel and first responders who administer opioid overdose reversal drugs or devices from criminal liability.

H.R. 5052 OPEN Act, directs the Attorney General and Secretary of Health and Human Services to evaluate the effectiveness of grant programs that provide assistance in addressing problems pertaining to opioid abuse.
The House also passed HR 5046 — the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act of 2016 — by a vote of 413-5. The legislation proposes authorizing "the Department of Justice to award grants to state, local and tribal governments to provide opioid abuse services."

The senate will need to approve the legislation before it goes to the president.

This article originally appeared in the May 20 edition of the Coldwater Daily Reporter. Read More

House Takes Additional Action to Fight Zika Virus


Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tim Walberg (MI-07) released the following statement after voting this week for another measure, H.R. 5243, the Zika Response Appropriations Act, to fight the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

“With the summer months almost here, we must continue to take aggressive action to enhance our Zika response efforts to stop the virus’s spread in the United States. This legislation directs resources towards immediate priorities such as vaccine research, mosquito control, and providing care for mothers and infants,” said Walberg.

In April, Congressman Walberg voted for bipartisan legislation to add the Zika virus to the Food and Drug Administration’s Priority Review Voucher Program, which would help expedite the development of vaccines and treatments.

Congressman Walberg serves on the House Education and the Workforce Committee as Chair of the Workforce Protections Subcommittee. In addition, he serves on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. For more information on Walberg’s work in Congress visit walberg.house.gov.
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Detroit Free Press: Concerns over surgical equipment remain at Ann Arbor VA


Six months after worries about particulate matter on surgical equipment temporarily stopped surgeries at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Ann Arbor, a congresswoman said Friday that some of those same concerns are being raised again, with surgeries being moved or delayed.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, confirmed that she and U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, spoke to VA officials at the Ann Arbor facility after hearing of a delay from a veteran’s family and were told that “intermittent” problems with particulate matter being found on surgical equipment trays or cases continue.

Derek Atkinson, a spokesman for the facility, acknowledged for the Free Press that problems remain and that recently it has "experienced an intermittent recurrence of sterile micro-particulates in some instrument trays," leading to the cancellation of some surgeries, primarily cardiac surgeries and other procedures that require more more surgical trays.

Those more complex surgeries, he said, are being "proactively referred to the community ... at VA expense."

"The VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System’s operating room cancellation rate remains consistent with the national VA cancellation rate," Atkinson said, adding that numerous reviews and inspections have taken place since the issue first arose last year and that they have not identified any "quality of care issues."

He did not immediately answer a question, however, about the cause of the particulate matter and why, six months or longer after it first became an issue, officials at the facility have been unable to solve it.

Meanwhile, Dingell said she and Walberg plan to send hospital leaders another letter asking them to outline what is being done to fix the recurring problem and visit with officials in the near future to follow up on those questions.

“I know they’ve been working to fix the problem but not knowing what’s causing it is unacceptable,” said Dingell. “We have to give our veterans quality health care and we have to give the VA the resources it needs to fix the problem.”

As in the past, VA officials have made clear that at no point has patient safety been compromised.

Last November, the Free Press reported that as many as 59 surgeries had been moved to the U-M Medical Center and that an operating area of the VA hospital closed for several days because some surgical equipment trays contained tiny bits of sediment believed to have been linked to an earlier water main break.

No surgical tools themselves were contaminated in that earlier instance but particulate matter led to worries about maintaining a sterile surgical environment. For a time after that, the facility had its equipment sterilized at the Detroit facility and transported to Ann Arbor to ensure its quality before believing the problem had been fixed.

This article originally appeared in the May 20 edition of the Detroit Free Press. Read More

Walberg Applauds Judiciary Committee Legislation Incorporating His Civil Asset Forfeiture Reforms


Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tim Walberg (MI-07) today applauded the House Judiciary Committee for introducing bipartisan legislation to curb civil asset forfeiture abuse, building on his two-year push to protect the American people’s due process and private property rights. The Committee’s legislation includes many of the key provisions of the Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration Act (FAIR Act), which Congressman Walberg introduced with Senator Rand Paul in January 2015.

“For two years, I have sounded the alarm about an unjust system that allows the government to seize an individual’s private property without filing criminal charges. It’s wrong and runs contrary to our nation’s constitutional founding principles. I’m encouraged to see the Judiciary Committee move the process forward today by introducing bipartisan legislation mirroring many of the forfeiture reforms I’ve been calling for, and I look forward to continuing to work with them to get it signed into law,” said Congressman Walberg.

“In recent years, there have been several incidents in which innocent Americans have had their property or money improperly seized by law enforcement. While asset forfeiture is a useful law enforcement tool, abuses of it clearly show that reform is needed now to better protect Americans from having their property wrongfully seized. The Due Process Act rightfully reforms civil asset forfeiture to prevent incentives to wrongly seize Americans’ property. The bipartisan bill also strengthens protections for Americans who have had their property confiscated by law enforcement and increases the accountability and transparency of this law enforcement tool. I look forward to taking this bill up in House Judiciary Committee soon and thank Representative Walberg who has worked on and championed this important issue for a long time,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte

Congressman Walberg first introduced legislative reforms in July 2014 in direct response to a wave of stories involving innocent property owners having their property seized by federal officials, including a longtime grocer in Michigan, Terry Dehko. In January 2015, he joined with Senator Rand Paul to introduce the comprehensive Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration Act (FAIR Act), which has strong support from 94 bipartisan co-sponsors and organizations from across the political spectrum.

More Background on Walberg’s Leadership on Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform
July 28, 2014: Walberg introduces the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2014. 

July 29, 2014: Walberg speaks on a panel at the Heritage Foundation to discuss civil asset forfeiture reform. 

September 4, 2014: Walberg writes an op-ed in the Washington Post detailing abuse of civil forfeiture.

September 28, 2014: Walberg speaks on the House floor about fellow Michigander, Terry Dehko, whose property was unlawfully seized by the IRS.

January 27, 2015: Walberg and Senator Paul introduce the Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration Act.

January 30, 2015: Walberg and Paul write an op-ed for CNN.com about civil forfeiture abuse.

February 17, 2015: Walberg discusses the FAIR Act with the Daily Signal.

February 23, 2015: Walberg discusses the FAIR Act with the Detroit Free Press.

March 31, 2015: Walberg responds to DOJ’s new civil asset forfeiture restrictions.

April 30, 2015: Leading small business, taxpayer organizations endorse the FAIR Act.

May 7, 2015: Walberg discusses the FAIR Act with Fox 17.

June 5, 2015: Walberg and Speaker Cotter write an op-ed in the Lansing State Journal highlighting asset forfeiture reform efforts.

June 25, 2015: Walberg testifies before the Judiciary Committee about the FAIR Act.

July 15, 2015: Walberg talks civil asset forfeiture, criminal justice reform at an Oversight Committee hearing.

July 16, 2015: Walberg discusses the FAIR Act with the Detroit News.

July 28, 2015: Walberg speaks about the FAIR Act with the Cato Institute.

Congressman Walberg serves on the House Education and the Workforce Committee as Chair of the Workforce Protections Subcommittee. In addition, he serves on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. For more information on Walberg’s work in Congress visit walberg.house.gov.

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WLNS: Heroin addiction stories shared at Jackson High School

2016-05-24 13:35:03

WLNS: Heroin epidemic in focus in Jackson County

2016-05-24 13:33:44

Walberg Amendments Adopted in National Defense Bill

2016-05-18 22:58:54

Walberg Presses EPA on FOIA Delays, Employee Misconduct

2016-05-18 23:07:31

WOOD TV: New federal effort to address opioid drug abuse

2016-05-18 23:06:03

Bipartisan Regulatory Integrity Act Clears Oversight Committee

2016-05-17 21:13:51

Walberg Works to Strengthen Career and Technical Education

2016-05-17 16:49:51

WLNS: Heroin overdoses continue at high rate

2016-05-17 16:29:54

Walberg Questions White House Narratives on the Iran Nuclear Deal

2016-05-17 16:36:02

WLNS: Walberg "Very Vocal" in the Fight Against Heroin Epidemic

2016-05-13 18:53:24

Walberg: All Hands on Deck to Combat Heroin

2016-05-12 18:12:43

Walberg Votes to Combat Opioid Epidemic, Protect Most Vulnerable

2016-05-11 20:15:34

WLNS: National drug take back day aims to curb addiction

2016-05-02 13:55:50

WLNS: Walberg Introduces ‘Jessie’s Law’ to Combat Opioid Epidemic

2016-05-02 13:56:52

Walberg Presses DHS on Policies About Releasing Criminal Aliens

2016-05-02 13:57:32

Walberg Questions TSA Employees on Agency Misconduct

2016-04-29 20:48:35

Walberg: Focus on Putting Students on Path to Success

2016-04-29 20:54:38

Walberg Encourages Participation in National Drug Take Back Day

2016-04-28 16:29:08

Walberg Chairs Hearing on New Silica Standards

2016-04-21 20:39:39

Walberg: Protect Taxpayers by Reining in IRS Abuse

2016-04-21 14:39:03

Contact Information

2436 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-6276
Fax 202-225-6281

Tim Walberg is currently serving his third term in Congress as the representative of south-central Michigan.  The diverse constituency of Michigan’s 7th District encompasses Branch, Eaton, Hillsdale, Jackson, Lenawee, and Monroe Counties, along with parts of Washtenaw County.  Since first taking office, Tim has hosted hundreds of coffee and town hall meetings to better understand the thoughts and concerns of the district.

Prior to his time in public office, Tim served as a pastor in Michigan and Indiana, as president of the Warren Reuther Center for Education and Community Impact, and as a division manager for Moody Bible Institute.  He also served in the Michigan House of Representatives from 1983 to 1999, and is proud to bring his reputation as a principled legislator, fiscal reformer, and defender of traditional values to Washington.

In the 113th Congress, Tim serves on the House Education and the Workforce Committee as Chair of the Workforce Protections Subcommittee.  In addition, he serves on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

He and his wife, Sue, have been married for over 39 years, and enjoy spending time outdoors and riding on their Harley. They live in Tipton, Michigan, where they raised their three children: Matthew, Heidi and Caleb.

Serving With

Dan Benishek


Bill Huizenga


Justin Amash


John Moolenaar


Fred Upton


Mike Bishop


Candice Miller


Dave Trott


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