Elder Issues Policy Statement

I will work to guarantee that every American is able to retire with dignity. The aging of our population provides the US with a complex series of issues that require a comprehensive plan. My plan to provide much needed support to our elder neighbors has four key areas:

  1. Fully fund and staff existing agencies and enforce existing legislation,
  2. Expand Social Security,
  3. Facilitate aging in place, and
  4. Improve health care.

News of the Week

June 11 - Allegan County Democratic Party Meeting:

#TeamBenac is bringing the grassroots energy to the 6th District! This is how we will grow the party and build a movement that will help us win seats and #CreateTheChange in 2018 and beyond.

Thank you to the Allegan County Democratic Party for giving me an opportunity to present my strategy to your members and for all of the work you are doing to expand the party in Allegan County.

June 12 - Berrien County MSU Alumni Club

I had fun yesterday with 600 of my closest friends and fellow MSU alumni at the annual picnic hosted by the Berrien County MSU Alumni Club.

I have spent my entire life, as a student and a teacher, in public education and I believe our system has been the best in the world and it will be again.

I will work to achieve full funding for our public schools, halt public funding to private schools, provide every student easy access to licensed social workers, support the union rights of educators, return vocational education to a prominent place in schools, and remove the tuition barrier from all public education from pre-k through college.

Let's #CreateTheChange we need to provide every student with a world class education and #GoGreen!

News of the Week

June 6 - UAW Meeting

While I was talking with UAW members today, Michigan repealed our prevailing wage law. Working-class Americans are suffering every day at the hands of corporations driven by no incentive other than ever-greater profits. Our political system has been compromised by corporate lobbyists who purchase access and influence to legislators who take that money and create laws that strip away workers' rights.

I have been a union member my entire working life, I have been an elected union representative for five years, I have walked with the members of five different unions in labor actions, and I have, and I will continue to, stand with labor.

I will sponsor legislation to require every publicly traded corporation make transparent the pay discrepancy between executives and employees, I will work to restore the labor protections of the Wagner Act, and I will work to rid our political system of the crony capitalism that serves the wealthy at the expense of workers. #UnionStrong #CantBeBought

June 9 - Kalamazoo Pride Festival

Yesterday made me PROUD of #TeamBenac. We had representatives at events all over the district, with Bridgefest 2018 in Allegan, Kalamazoo Pride 2018, and a meet and greet hosted by Matt & Renae of Lush Lighting as our highlights.

Our team at Bridge Fest in Allegan ended up getting rained out, but before they did they set up a great table, met a few voters, and had some fun.

OutFront Kalamazoo put on another wonderful Pride Festival and I was honored to have our team there all day. I will work in Congress to make sexual orientation and gender identity Federally protected classes and to be an ally for the LGBTQ+ movement every day.

Veterans Policy Statement

Please check out my latest policy statement. We have over 21 million veterans in the US, many of whom are suffering from homelessness, unemployment, a lack of heath care, and mental and substance abuse disorders. I propose that we reorient our priorities and end our involvement in interventionist wars and provide our veterans and their families with the support they need to successfully return to civilian life.

News of the Week

May 28th - Memorial Day Parade

Thank you to #TeamBenac for coming out to commemorate our fallen veterans by marching in the Kalamazoo #MemorialDay Parade. I was honored to be there with the devoted crowd that stayed after the parade for the very hot, but powerful ceremony.
Please join me today in honoring our fallen soldiers. Over 2 million Americans have died in combat or as a result of service-related injuries. Their sacrifices deserve recognition.

May 29th - Kalamazoo County Democratic Party Candidate Forum

Thank you Kalamazoo County Democratic Party for hosting a full house. It was a great opportunity to put forward our progressive vision for the 6th. The more of these forums we do, the more obvious it becomes that a bold progressive agenda is the only path to victory. Join #TeamBenac and help us #CreateTheChange

May 30th - Arclight Brewing

This morning I had the chance to help the brew team at Arclight Brewing Company start brewing our official campaign beer! While we worked, I learned from brewmaster Ed what it takes for a small business to prosper and how they give back to the community.

You can help us name our blueberry wit beer by adding your suggestions in the comment section below, and stay tuned for opportunities to drink it with#TeamBenac in about five weeks!

 

 

News of the Week

May 22nd : South County Democratic Club Meeting

Last night I dropped by the South County Democratic Club, Berrien County, Michigan meeting in Niles, talked with voters, and had a chance to see Dean Hill and Ian Haight make their pitches for their campaigns. The South County Dems, Dean, and Ian are putting in the work and they're going to be there to help us #CreateTheChange and turn this district blue! Thank you for the great work you're all doing.

May 24th: Saint Joseph Town Hall

https://www.wsjm.com/2018/05/25/video-u-s-house-candidate-speaks-in-st-joseph/

Thank you News Talk 94.9 WSJM and Jacob Holmes for coming out and covering our town hall in St. Joseph, the 20th of the campaign!

May 26th: Annual Kalamazoo Pride Brunch

I had the honor of supporting OutFront Kalamazoo this morning and listening to Kylie Clifton and Mara Keisling deliver some inspirational speeches. I believe Mara Keisling had a great message: there is a lot of work to do, but if we stay optimistic, we can achieve equality. #LGBTQ #CreateTheChange

Infrastructure Policy Statement

We are in the middle of #InfrastructureWeek and Mr. Trump's wrongheaded plan based on privatization and funding from state and local sources is all but dead, where it should be. It is time for a real infrastructure agenda that will create living-wage jobs, spur economic growth, and improve our national security. All of that is possible with a real investment in the infrastructure of the green economy. To see what I will work towards, check out my infrastructure plan for my Michigan and the nation.

News of the Week

May 8th: Jack Lessenberry: Meet MI Authors Series

Over the past couple days I saw Jack Lessenberry discuss the media and politics in Richland and Voters - Not Politicians inspire everyone at the Wayland Dems meeting. There is a blue wave coming, but only if we have an inspirational and progressive message.

Mr. Lessenberry called for critical engagement with the media and encouraged the progressive turn of the Democratic Party. He took time to give me some advice and told me the ideology and enthusiasm Senator Sanders has brought into the Democratic Party is the future of the party.

If we are going to #CreateTheChange, we need to end gerrymandering. Please join me in fully supporting Voters Not Politicians and let's elect some representatives who #CantBeBought!

News of the Week

May 1st: Lake Effect Tour, Out Center Benton Harbor Jay Kaplan Presentation

Another great day traveling the district and getting to know voters. After touring Lake Effect this morning, we headed to the Benton Charter Township Board meeting, dashed over to a powerful event hosted by the The OutCenter with an informative presentation by Jay Kaplan of the ACLU of MI on LGBTQ issues, then headed over to a local, small business Arclight Brewing Company to bring the evening to a close. I love this district and the amazing people that make it unique. I am running for Congress to be the representative that fights in DC for every one of you! #CreateTheChange

May 2nd: Farm Bureau

After leaving a meeting with the Michigan Farm Bureau this morning, I went home, took a moment to check on my bees, thought about growing up on a farm, the recent festivities of Earth Day, my volunteer efforts on environmental actions, and thought about nature, agriculture, and Congress. Protecting a healthy environment must be the bedrock of all policy decisions. Without bees doing their work we will have no food.

Excessive pesticide use in southwest China has left farmers forced to pollinate apple and pear trees by hand. In the US, scientists are trying to build robotic drones to replace bees (see link below). What kind of a dystopian future is in store for us if we don't act?

I will fight to protect our environment, ensure a supply of safe food for all Americans, and to create a sustainable agricultural and food system. Protecting bees and other pollinators means protecting us. #CreateTheChange

May 3rd: Voters Not Politicans Open House

Another great Voters - Not Politicians event this evening in Kalamazoo! Michigan is ready for real redistricting reform and Voters Not Politicians is leading the fight!

May 4th: Allegan Town Hall

Another great town hall at the Allegan District Library last night! Thank you to all who attended, ask questions, and brought treats! These town halls are vital to understanding the concerns of the district and we will continue to host them throughout the election and while in office!

Our 20th town hall will be in St. Joseph on May 24th-- mark your calendars!

May 5th: State Rep. Jon Hoadley's 4th Annual Burdick Block Party

Yesterday was another day of #TeamBenac getting out and meeting voters all across the 6th district! We started the day in Saint Joseph where we met voters on their doorsteps, then headed over to Kalamazoo to support State Representative Jon Hoadley and his incredible work with the District Service Office at the 4th Annual N. Burdick St. Block Party. We then finished out the day by bringing together advocates and small business owners working to bring medical marijuana to Michigan. This is how we build the party and a start movement that will #CreateTheChange!

News of the Week

April 27th: Rep. Jon Hoadley's Spring Into Action and Arbor Day

It's been another exciting and long day for Team Benac. To turn the 6th blue it's going to take hard work and a new and exciting approach. We kicked off the morning by knocking on doors in Allegan and listening to voters, then headed to Kalamazoo to plant some trees for Arbor Day. Tonight, we're looking forward to a fun event here at the Kalamazoo Air Zoo to kick off spring and in support of our State Representative John Hoadley. The only way to build a movement and represent the people is to do the work, strive to make the district a better place, and build positive partnerships. It's hard work, but we'll keep working for you every day and use this energy and excitement to build the party and achieve big victories in 2018 and beyond!

April 28th: Berrien County Democats Candidate Forum

Thank you Berrien County Democratic Party for organizing and hosting an exciting forum in Benton Harbor today. It was an honor to meet some engaged and excited voters who are ready to #CreateTheChange. It's going to take an energized grassroots movement to get a win for the people in the 6th district. It's time to do something different, something bold, and something for the people!. #CantBeBought

April 29th: Cass County Demorats Candidate Forum

Thank you to the Michigan Cass County Democrats for bringing together the candidates and an engaged crowd. It was an honor to meet some new voters, listen to their concerns, and answer some excellent questions. I look forward to seeing you all soon and working alongside you to #CreateTheChange. I am proud of #TeamBenac for once again helping push the progressive movement forward and showing that we have the most energetic and organized campaign in the race. It is time to turn the 6th blue!

Michigan Democratic Party Endorsement Convention

Today we traveled to Detroit for the Michigan Democratic Party 2018 Endorsement Convention where we spoke with the Michigan Democratic Party Environmental Caucus, Progressive Caucus, Rural Caucus, Michigan Education Association, and District 6 Caucus!

A huge congratulations to MDP-endorsed candidate Dana Nessel for Michigan Attorney General! The decision of the MDP membership at the endorsement convention yesterday was a big win for the people of Michigan, for equality, for the fight against corruption, and for the progressive movement. A huge thank you to everyone on #TeamBenac who joined us at yesterday's convention and who continue to support our grassroots, progressive campaign to flip Michigan's 6th district. Our team is incredibly proud and excited to fight alongside Dana to create real progressive reform!

 

Niles Town Hall

Thank you to everyone who came out to our 18th town hall yesterday in Niles! This was our second town hall in the city and fourth overall in Berrien County. Unable to make last night's event? Don't worry! We'll be hosting another town hall in the county on May 24th in St. Joseph!

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Gun Control Town Hall

 

Gun violence prevention must be a post-partisan issue where Democrats, Republicans, and independents truly work together to secure and implement sensible gun ownership policies while simultaneously protecting the lives and rights of all American people. Thank you to Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Coalition for Common Ground for coordinating today's gun violence prevention town hall. Let's continue to hold public town halls throughout Michigan's 6th district to respectfully discuss this issue.

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