Michigan’s 1st Congressional District: Meet The Republican Candidates

The campaigning started months ago, and Tuesday will be a big day for candidates hoping to represent the 1st Congressional District.      

Last week we introduced you to the two Democratic candidates vying for the nomination.

9&10’s Cody Boyer introduces you to the three republican candidates hoping to replace Congressman Dan Benishek.

"I would hope all of us have a passion and a fire in our belly to really believe that there needs to be something different done," says Tom Casperson.

It’s a hope shared by all three Republican candidates running for the 1st District in Michigan.

"Michigan’s 1st Congressional District is the second largest congressional district east of the Mississippi," says Jason Allen.

Jason Allen shares the ticket with Jack Bergman and Tom Casperson.

He says creating jobs, simplifying the tax code and rebuilding national defense are important, along with tackling national debt.

"When you look at that as being some place around $12-14 trillion and growing, it’s a remarkable number that is going to have to be addressed over these next years," says Allen.

He’s the vice president of a Traverse City small business and former veterans affairs policy advisor.

He says protecting our nation’s vets should be a focus.

"Upper Michigan has a high percentage of veterans, and often veterans are frustrated because of access and care and also not being aware of their benefits. I’m committed to making sure that our veterans are aware of those benefits," explains Allen.

That’s a stance shared by veteran Jack Bergman.

He says national security is a priority.

"As a Marine for 40 years and having risen to the highest levels of the organization, I take national security very serious,” says Bergman.

A former lieutenant general, Bergman says fixing damage done in Washington and raising up small businesses could raise Michigan up, too.

"You have to have jobs. You have to have an economy that is vibrant. You have to look at what does Northern Michigan have that we can use to create jobs," explains Bergman.

He also wants to give the education budget back to the states.

"Let the state’s do the business. The federal government was created by the states, not vice-versa," says Bergman.

Tom Casperson stands on his nearly 30 years of work in log trucking in the race for Congress.

He says trade deals must be fair to keep jobs, and skilled trades can’t be forgotten.

"We got to make sure we have trade but it’s got to be fair trade," says Casperson. "We kind of lost our way a little bit."

And a point shared across the board in some way: downsizing federal government.

"The federal government takes our money and then they hold that money over our heads on the state level, and they say either do it our way or we don’t give you your money back," says Casperson.

Another point all three agree on, Obamacare has to go.

Casperson says it won’t be easy.

"You can’t just say get rid of Obamacare and then life goes on. It’s not going to. We have a health care problem and it needs to be addressed," explains Casperson.

In the end, it’s a decision left up to the voters.

"I want them to look at number one, who of the candidates has a true record of accomplishment that spans the borders outside of Michigan, and is used to being held accountable for their actions," says Bergman.

Allen says, "You have a deep-rooted commitment to the region. That has given us strength far beyond so many regions in the United States."