Lorinser seeking feedback on Congressional run
MARQUETTE — Dr. Robert Lorinser, 65, has announced the formation of an exploratory committee to receive feedback on a congressional run for Michigan’s 1st District.
Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Watersmeet, currently holds that seat.
In a letter written to 1st District Democratic leaders on Thursday, Lorinser says he’s seeking support as he explores the possibility of a campaign.
“I never planned on running for Congress, but when asked if I was willing to serve again, I’m grateful for the consideration,” Lorinser said in a statement. “If enough citizens find me a viable and electable candidate, I’m ready and willing to campaign and work to represent the needs of northern Michigan at a national level.”
Lorinser’s committee letter states he’s academically qualified with advanced degrees in medicine, social work and public health. At the beginning of his career, he worked as a social worker at a veterans hospital and for the Indian Health Service in Navajo Nation before raising a family in Marquette.
Lorinser practiced medicine up through the administration level for over three decades in the Upper Peninsula, then joined the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Service. Since 2011, Lorinser served as regional medical director with diplomatic missions in Pakistan, South Korea, Afghanistan, Morocco and Iraq, gaining experience in foreign diplomacy and international politics.
“(The Foreign Service) is Washington, D.C.’s ears and eyes on the ground,” Lorinser said. “We articulate and promote American policies, practices, values, ideals and ideas. Ultimately, the focus is on U.S. national security. Strategies of security, prosperity and promoting American ideals of human rights, democracy and equality are the fundamental goals of every American, of course, including 1st District Michiganders.”
After serving in the State Department, Lorinser planned to retire, but the COVID-19 pandemic brought him back into medical service. He offered his services as medical director of the Marquette County Health Department, where he is currently employed, offering his experience in public health and skills during an unprecedented time.
“To some, the above credentials and experience will matter, and to others, it won’t,” Lorinser wrote in his three-page letter. “As a voting Michigander for many years, I have often used the following criteria to evaluate and judge candidates for office. I hope that you consider doing the same as you evaluate me for this role.”
Lorinser emphasized a “bedrock of principles” in the letter, stating his “firm, unchanging, fundamental truths” are among his strongest assets he can bring to Congress, along with a moral compass, a vision and the ability to build a consensus to implement this vision.
“I want to be a statesman — not a politician — if honored to represent constituents in Washington, D.C.,” Lorinser said. “I value principles like wisdom, justice, courage, kindness, democratic freedom, equality under the law and moderation. If I can help lead the advancement of these principles as our district’s next congressman, we’ll find success and lead northern Michigan to peace, prosperity and security for the future.”
Lorinser describes himself as a moderate Democrat and expressed disapproval of a volatile political climate filled with “hyperbole, self-interest and misinformation.”
“A statesman does not govern by public opinion polls,” he said. “A true statesman makes their decisions by following the dictates of their moral compass. When something is wrong, they plainly say it is wrong and does everything in their power to fight against it. When something is right, they are willing to overcome any opposition to preserve and spread it. I hope citizens agree I am a person of integrity, who values honesty, speaks the truth and who represents the best in their constituency.”
Lorinser said he supports universal health care, “accessible and appropriate” public education, a sound environmental policy, a foreign policy based on moral and ethical grounds, and economic viability.
The congressional exploratory committee letter noted that at this time, Lorinser is garnering public support and feedback, but should the opportunity arise, he will make a decision to start gathering nomination petition signatures by Sept. 1, and then release policy positions.
Lorinser will compete in the Democratic primary on Aug. 2, 2022, with the winner to advance to the general election in November.
Lorinser explained how his experiences have given him a good understanding of politics.
“Twenty-five, 30 years as a doctor, 10 years in the Foreign Service and — what is it? — nine months during the pandemic as a medical director, I got it,” he said.
Lorinser said he was “recruited” for the last couple of months to consider a congressional run, acknowledging that being a public health director wasn’t in his plans either.
Lorinser also said he has received about 30 or 40 responses — all favorable — since he sent the exploratory letter to the Democratic leadership on Thursday.