2017-11-16 / Columns

Bipartisan Push for Supporting Veterans

Michigan Politics
By George Weeks

Last week’s observation of Veterans Day prompts me to note that Michigan has a strong bipartisan record of supporting veterans, and its members of Congress will be instrumental in shaping up the troubled Veterans Administration and otherwise helping veterans.

Retired Democratic Senator Carl Levin, longtime chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Michigan’s longest-serving senator, was a strong advocate for veterans.

His replacement, freshman Democratic Senator Gary Peters, a former naval officer, is a champion for veterans and has been in the forefront of the current battle to improve the Veterans Administration and expand funding for the cause.

Among Capitol Hill Republican champions of veterans is Michigan’s 1st District U.S. Representative Jack Bergman of Watersmeet, a retired Marine lieutenant general, who was on many a front line.

On Veterans Day, Bergman dispatched recorded phone calls to district citizens marking the occasion and calling for support for veterans. While previous 1st district congressmen have been supportive veterans, Bergman, with his military background, has been especially supportive.

Hoekstra a Unique Political Figure

Of all the many, many politicians I have covered, few have been more unique than former U.S. Representative Peter Hoekstra (R-Holland).

Last week, Hoekstra, who was born in the Netherlands and moved with his family to Michigan as a young child, was, most interestingly, confirmed as U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands, thanks in large part to support of Democratic senators Stabenow and Peters.

Hoekstra, who served for 18 years in the House and chaired its Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, made unsuccessful bids for governor and senator, including a failed 2012 challenge of Stabenow.

A boost for Michigan economy?

Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser contends that the tax cuts proposed in the U.S. House would give Michigan a significant boost.

Writing in The Detroit News, Weiser, founder of McKinley Associates, a real estate investment firm, said, “In Michigan alone the House Republican tax plan is projected to increase median household income by $4,716 and create over 50,000 new full-time jobs. Imagine the impact of small business cuts nationwide.”

“We must do for the nation what we have done in Michigan under Republican leadership – cut taxes, grow our economy, and get people back to work.”

Weiser said that in Michigan there are more than 866,000 small businesses, which employ 1.8 million workers. Michigan’s job creators - your local brewery, the bookstore across the street, and countless others – account for nearly 35,000 new jobs every year, and they account for roughly 90% of Michigan exports.

George Weeks, a member of the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame, for 23 years was the political columnist for The Detroit News and previously with UPI as Lansing bureau chief and foreign editor in Washington. His weekly Michigan Politics column is syndicated by Superior Features.

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