Fred Upton: Getting the job done for Southwest Michigan families

Fred with Brooke and Brielle Kennedy, of Mattawan, Michigan, who served as an inspiration for his bipartisan 21st Century Cures initiative.

Congressman Fred Upton is proud to represent the common-sense values of Southwest Michigan’s Sixth Congressional District. A diverse section of the state that stretches from the shores of Lake Michigan, the Sixth District is home to key industries that range from agriculture to auto parts manufacturing to high-tech biomedical innovation centers. It includes all of Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren counties, and most of Allegan County.

Prior to his election to Congress, Fred worked for President Ronald Reagan in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). While at OMB, he learned from President Reagan’s example that it does not matter who gets the credit, as long as the job gets done. That has been Fred’s approach since he was first elected to Congress in 1986 and continues today.

In 2010, Fred was selected by his House colleagues to serve as Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, which has jurisdiction over matters concerning energy, healthcare, the environment, telecommunications, commerce, manufacturing, and trade, as well as oversight and investigations. Bipartisan success has been a staple during Fred’s tenure as chairman of the committee.

Fred’s top priorities are job creation, economic growth, and working to help all residents of Southwest Michigan live longer, better lives.

Fred has long pushed for a greater emphasis on biomedical research to improve the public health. In 2014, along with Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colorado, Fred launched the 21st Century Cures initiative. This multi-year
effort aims to bring researchers, industry, and patients together to speed up the discovery, development, and delivery of life-saving cures. The pursuit of these 21st century cures also supports Southwest Michigan employers and jobs by ensuring the United States remains the world leader in medical innovation.

Fred’s leadership on Great Lakes issues has earned him a local and national reputation. As an active member of the Great Lakes caucus, Fred has an extensive record working to protect the Great Lakes watershed and preserving the beauty of our lakes for generations to come. A leader on keeping BP from dumping pollutants into Lake Michigan, Fred has also been a bipartisan leader in preventing Asian Carp and other invasive species from entering our waterways, and working on bipartisan legislation to keep harmful pollutants like synthetic plastic microbeads from getting into Lake Michigan. Fred will continue to protect our treasured Great Lakes so that generations to come can enjoy their beauty.

Fred has worked tirelessly to ensure Southwest Michigan remains a hub of commerce and innovation. From the Harbor Shores project in St. Joseph/Benton Harbor and working to ensure the St. Joseph Harbor remains dredged and operational, to the widening of I-94 and working with local leaders on the Kalamazoo River Superfund cleanup, Fred understands that when Southwest Michigan is connected and its residents empowered, it thrives.

Fred works hard to ensure that Michigan service members and veterans receive the benefits they have earned through years of service. From improving health care for our veterans, to improving the disability benefit system or getting veterans back to work, and providing overdue service medals, Fred has a strong record of supporting our brave veterans and their families. In addition, Fred has been working closely with the U.S. Department of Defense to get the Missile Defense Agency Project approved for the Fort Custer Training Center.

Fred has led the effort to ensure seniors keep access to their physicians and low-income children keeping their insurance coverage. In April of 2015, President Obama signed into law H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, which permanently fixes the broken Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate, strengthens Medicare in the long-term, extends federal funding for community health centers, and extends the Children’s Health Insurance Program (MIChild) which covers nearly 45,000 children in Michigan.

Fred strongly supports an “all of the above” energy strategy that says yes to energy and focuses on emerging clean energy technologies as well as traditional energy solutions that lower costs for families and businesses and helps America become free from reliance on foreign oil. Fred is also fighting to bring a halt to costly federal rules and regulations that needlessly slow private-sector growth. Fred believes in ensuring that the federal government remains limited, transparent, and accountable to the American people.

Fred has also remained committed to helping residents of Southwest Michigan who run into snags dealing directly with the federal government. He maintains two constituent district offices, located in Benton Harbor/St. Joseph and Kalamazoo, where dedicated caseworkers serve as intermediaries to help them navigate the system.

Fred was born on April 23, 1953 and holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Michigan. He and his wife Amey have two children.

Recent awards and special recognitions

2015 – Edwin C. Whitehead Award for Medical Research Advocacy

2014 - Distinguished Community Health Champion Award

2014 – Friend of Farm Bureau Award

2014 – Theodore Roosevelt Leadership Award

2014 – Crime Fighter Award

2014 – TechAmerica Congressional Tech Leader Award

2013 – Champion of Seniors Award

2013 – Humane Society Legislator of the Year