Congressman Jack Bergman Attends Petoskey Forum, Protesters Gather

Crowds gathered outside a Petoskey hotel protesting.

Inside, U.S. Congressman Jack Bergman was attending a forum and luncheon.

Congressman Bergman came to the sold out chamber of commerce event to meet people and answer questions.

The Petoskey and Charlevoix chambers held the event at the Perry Hotel in Petoskey Thursday. 

9 & 10’s Blayke Roznowski and photojournalist Noah Jurik were inside for the luncheon with what Bergman had to say and heard constituent concerns. 

Congressman Jack Bergman came to the Perry Hotel in Petoskey for a luncheon.

About 100 people were inside to listen to a question and answer session while about 100 people outside were here to protest. 

"We need to see our representative," a protester Suzanne Shumway said. "We need our representative to show that he’s interested in hearing all of our voices."

Inside the event, Bergman was answering questions about the seasonal workers program.

"We need to increase the cap on the H-2Bs, I believe, as well as speed up the process," Congressman Bergman said. "We have hundreds of thousands of good, solid folks who want to come here. They want to work, and guess what? They want to go home." 

There were more questions on the controversial Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac.

"You don’t do anything that’s unsafe, but at the same time you make sure that your decisions on whether anything is safe are based on data," Congressman Bergman said. 

A big concern constituents expressed was that the event wasn’t free and open to the public and not all of their questions were being answered.

"Our friends here just want to have their voices heard," a Petoskey resident who attended the event Carolyn Matzinger said, "I felt like he was ducking out." 

Congressman Bergman said they do plan on hosting free town hall events in the future.