Carl Levin, Gary Peters, Michigan Democrats — May 1, 2013 at 12:26 pm

LIVEBLOG: Gary Peters announces run for U.S. Senate


Run, Gary, run!

Moments ago, Gary Peters announced that he will run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Carl Levin in 2014.

Today — I am officially announcing that I am a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2014.

This is a critical time for Michigan, and our main streets and middle class need an independent voice fighting for them.

Washington is a mess, but Michigan is on the verge of re-inventing itself with a new economy and a middle class that’s stronger than ever — and I want to be on the front lines of that fight.

I’ve always believed that the things middle class families struggle with around their kitchen tables should define my work in Washington.

That’s why I led the fight to increase lending to small businesses, make sure women receive equal pay for equal work, and held Wall Street accountable when they took their taxpayer-funded bailouts and paid themselves bonuses.

We’ve made some progress, but we’re a long way from finished.

Together, we must work to make sure that Michigan will always be a place where people can work hard, have access to an affordable education, find a good-paying job and enjoy a secure retirement. That’s the American dream, and it’s always been the foundation of Michigan’s middle class.

We have to get spending under control and return our focus to creating jobs, finding innovative ways to help small businesses grow, and fixing our economy.

And we must continue the fight to protect our seniors — Medicare and Social Security are under attack, and no one will fight harder to make sure these crucial programs are there for this generation and the next.

Set politics and party aside: if it’s not right for Michigan’s small businesses and middle class, it’s never been right with me.

I think that kind of independent approach is exactly what Michigan needs in the Senate right now.

Peters is holding a press availability this afternoon at 2:15 at the Chomp Bar & Grille in Rochester. The Chomp Bar & Grille diner used to be the home and small business to Gary’s great-great grand-father. Peters is the 5th generation of Michiganders in his family and lived in Oakland County his entire life.

Photos by Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog

2:13 – We’re at the Chomp Deli in Rochester. There’s a picture of the restaurant as it was when Congressman Peter’s great-great grandfather owned it. The Congressman will join us soon.

2:15 – How many reporters and cameramen/women can you cram into a tiny restaurant? We’re about to find out. The Congressman is arriving now.

Congressman Peters with his wife Colleen and Chomp Deli & Grille owner Tim Brinker

“It’s great to be here. This is really a special location for us. This is a picture of my great-great grandfather Lewis Peters.”

Lewis Peters was one of the early settlers of Rochester in the 1840s, according to Congressman Peters. “He was a Justice of the Peace and a real estate guy… He was the quintessential small businessman.”

Congressman Peters is here with his wife Colleen. Says Senator Levin stepping down is a loss for Michigan. “We need to have an advocate for Michigan, someone with deep roots in the state.” Says that he fills that role.

“We need to make sure we’re investing in small businesses and our young people.”

“We believe this is the right thing to do.”

Says his priorities will be rebuilding the middle class and helping Michigan businesses and families.

Formal kick-off will be later in the fall but wants to get his intentions out there.

Factors that led him to decide to run: his family and if he can “be of greater service to Michigan.”

“I’m a believer that we can’t be a vibrant southeastern Michigan or a vibrant state without a strong city of Detroit.”

Congressman Peters says that when he was an investment banker, he worked with families to achieve their dreams. His office was literally “on Main Street” and he helped families plan for their futures.

“In my district, Governor Snyder won by 20 points but I still won.” Says he won because people know he fights for Michigan families.

“I’ve fought three very different races and that has prepared me” to be successful across the state.

“I believe in listening first and then finding commonsense solutions to the problems people are having.”

Asked about his thoughts on a Republican opponent, Peters says he’s focused on what he’s hearing from the citizens of Michigan. “I fight for those concerns in Washington” and making sure they have a voice.

“I believe we have to continue the fight” Senator Levin started.

Congressman Peters’ mother is a naturalized citizen and he feels strongly that immigration reform is an important priority.

He’s announcing early so that Michigan voters can get to know him. “Michigan is a big state. It takes longer to drive from Detroit to Ironwood than it does to drive to Washington, D.C.”

“Whoever my Republican will be, I feel confident that there will be a distinct contrast between my vision and theirs.”

“It really doesn’t matter who my opponent is because, based on what I’ve seen in Washington, they basically all toe the same line.”