News & Events
MNA Endorses McDowell as Best Choice to Serve U.P., Northern Michigan
Middle-class farmer will stand up for workers, protect Medicare
Gary McDowell is the best choice to serve workers, families and seniors in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan, the Michigan Nurses Association said today in endorsing McDowell for Congress in Michigan’s 1st District.
“As a health care provider, I am especially proud to support Gary McDowell because he will fight to protect Medicare, unlike our current Congressman, who is working to destroy it,” said Carolyn Hietamaki, a registered nurse at Marquette General Hospital and treasurer of the MNA Board of Directors. “Gary McDowell has his priorities in the right place. He won’t be flying off to Washington and turning his back on us here at home. He will be a real voice for workers and families.”
McDowell, a native of Rudyard, is a farmer, small businessman and retired driver from the United Postal Service, where he worked for 33 years. The 1st District is currently represented by Congressman Dan Benishek, a Crystal Falls surgeon.
Dr. Benishek voted last year for the Ryan Plan to end Medicare as we know it, switching to a voucher system that would increase out-of-pocket costs by at least $6,000 a year for 111,000 individuals in the First Congressional District between the ages of 44 and 54 [i]. The 141,000 current Medicare beneficiaries in the district would lose their free preventive care and pay more for prescription drugs. 
Dr. Benishek, whose district contains eight of the 10 counties in Michigan with the highest rate of uninsured residents, recently introduced his “solution” to the health care crisis: legislation allowing residents to save $15,000 in a special account.
In another example of how out of touch Benishek is with his district, he was set to be honored at a $1,000-per-host “Scotch and Cigars” fundraiser in D.C. earlier this month. The conservative group hosting the event demanded that Benishek return its campaign donation after he apparently canceled his appearance once the Michigan Nurses Association called attention to the plans.
The Michigan Nurses Association represents more than 1,400 registered nurses in the 1st Congressional District – including at Marquette General Hospital, Chippewa County War Memorial Hospital, and Alpena Regional Medical Center – and more than 10,000 statewide.
“The Michigan Nurses Association supports Gary McDowell because he is committed to increasing access to quality health care for everyone – not just the rich,” said John Karebian, executive director of the Michigan Nurses Association. “Our nurses in Dr. Benishek’s district and across the state are tired of him protecting the wealthy instead of looking out for Michigan’s workers, families and seniors. The people of the 1st Congressional District deserve a good man like Gary McDowell who will clean up government, put the middle class first and protect Medicare and other essential programs.”
MNA members are working to improve the quality of life for all in Michigan with their Main Street Contract for the American People. The nonpartisan campaign asks elected officials to support priorities to rebuild our state and country including jobs at living wages; quality education; guaranteed health care; secure retirement; good housing and protection from hunger; a safe and healthy environment; and a just taxation system where corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share, including a minimal tax on financial transactions.