MARQUETTE - A U.S. representative hoping to succeed U.S. Sen. Carl Levin has received a key endorsement from a longtime Upper Peninsula politician.
Former U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, a Democrat from Menominee who spent 18 years representing the U.P. in Washington, D.C., issued the endorsement Monday for U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, D-Detroit.
"It is critical that middle class families and small business in northern Michigan and the U.P. have a strong independent voice in the U.S. Senate, and I am confident that Gary Peters will be the leader we need in Washington," Stupak said.
Peters, who was in Marquette Monday as part of a statewide tour, said he was honored to receive an endorsement from a seasoned politician like Stupak.
"Bart, I think, did a fantastic job of representing the 1st Congressional District for many years. I've always had a great deal of respect and admiration for him, because I think he was really just a tireless advocate for northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula," Peters said. "He knows this area intimately. He knows the people intimately and he knows the issues inside and out. To have him supporting me is certainly very meaningful to me."
After serving in elected and appointed positions across the state, Peters was elected to the U.S. House in 2008.
Peters was stopping at businesses in the area Monday, including Spring Street's Everyday Wines, owned and operated by Dan Rutz.
Peters, a strong proponent of industry, said small businesses remain the key to widespread economic success.
"Dan basically found a niche to start a business, created a business where he thought there was a need, and he's been very successful as a result of that. We want to continue to promote that," he said. "I always make it a point, no matter where I am anywhere in the state of Michigan, to always be at a Main Street business, which is why I came here to Everyday Wines today."
Peters said he hoped swings through the U.P. would become commonplace for him.
"To me, the Upper Peninsula is an integral part of the state of Michigan, so the representation the Upper Peninsula has should be as robust as possible," he said. "I'm here 15 months before the election, you will see me many times before the election and you will continue to see me after the election, as well, in the community."
Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.