First District Congressional candidates continue campaign

As the Republican National Convention continues in Tampa, the race for Michigan’s 1st Congressional District continues. Gary McDowell, Democratic candidate for the seat currently held by Congressman Dan Benishek, held a coffee hour with seniors Monday at Avery Square Senior Apartments in Sault Ste. Marie to talk about protecting Medicare for current and future retirees.


“We need a Congressman who will look out for seniors, tax payers and regular people here in Northern Michigan,” said Gary McDowell. “Congressman Benishek isn’t doing that. He would rather be rubbing elbows with party insiders and donors who want to end Medicare rather than working for Northern Michigan.”

About a dozen seniors joined McDowell for coffee in the Avery Square atrium.  Conversation shifted between protecting Medicare and Social Security to bring jobs back to Northern Michigan to encourage young people to stay.

According to a press  release from the McDowell campaign, the coffee group voiced concerns over Congressman Benishek’s plan to force them to pay $6,400 more per year for their Medicare in order to pay for more tax breaks for the wealthy. Congressman Benishek has voted with his GOP leaders 91% of the time.

In a posted press release on his website, www., the Congressman says, “Many of Northern Michigan’s seniors are concerned because the President cut over $700 billion from Medicare to pay for his new health care law.  Experts predict that Medicare will be bankrupt in the next decade.  We need to preserve and strengthen this program, not cut it like the President did.  As a doctor who treated Medicare patients for nearly 30 years, I am committed to preserving and protecting this important program.”

“We absolutely need to get the deficit down and cut wasteful spending, “McDowell told the group. “But we cannot balance the budget on the backs of seniors. If Congressman Benishek is serious about the deficit he should go after all the wasteful spending in Washington, not seniors back in Northern Michigan.”

Gary McDowell’s last appearance at Avery Square was part of his “Save our Retirement” listening tour that took him from Manistee, to Traverse City, Alpena, Petoskey, Escanaba, Marquette, Menominee, Iron Mountain, Iron River, Ironwood and Houghton.

Benishek addressed the Michigan Delegation at the RNC Monday and is scheduled to speak to the convention attendees at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.