By EVAN REID
IRON MOUNTAIN - U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, was in Iron Mountain on Friday as part of his "Michigan First" listening tour.
Theresa Proudfit/Daily News Photo
U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, made stops at Timber Products Co. and Iron Mountain Power Sports Friday during his U.P. listening tour. Here, Peters visits with Timber Products workers. Pictured from left are Mike Tipton, Congressman Peters, Rick Tipton and Doug Lantagne.
Peters, who hails from the Metro Detroit area, made stops at Timber Products Co. and Iron Mountain Power Sports to learn what is important to local business owners and other residents of the Upper Peninsula. This is his second listening tour of the U.P.
"My top priority is hearing the challenges our families and small businesses face and focusing on finding practical solutions to make Michigan's middle class stronger than ever," he said.
Peters served as a member of the Michigan Senate from 1995 until 2002, and as the Michigan Lottery commissioner from 2003 until 2008. He was sworn into office as representative of Michigan's 14th congressional district in 2009.
Last year, U.S. Sen. Carl Levin announced that he will retire in 2015 - leaving an open seat in the Senate that Peters is hoping to fill. The Democrat has been endorsed by both Levin and Sen. Debbie Stabenow.
"Since the first day I announced this campaign, I have been traveling our great state because I want to hear directly from people across Michigan," he said.
Peters said that ensuring a healthy economy in Michigan by creating jobs and protecting small businesses has been the main focus of his discussions with U.P. residents.
He said the conservation of the state's natural resources and how to effectively manage environmental problems, such as invasive species in the Great Lakes, has been another primary concern.
Peters also said that he plans to continue being "on the road" in Michigan, whether or not his bid for the U.S. Senate is successful.
"I take my job as a representative very seriously," he said. "I make it a point to be out in the community and accessible to folks who have questions."
Rather than wait for more agreeable weather, Peters said, he purposefully chose to visit the U.P. in the winter. "This is daily life," he added. "People are hardy up here."
Evan Reid's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.