Daniel Joseph Benishek (born April 20, 1952) is an American physician and politician currently serving as the U.S. Representative for Michigan's 1st congressional district. He is a member of the Republican Party.
Early life, education, and medical career
Benishek was born in Iron River, Michigan in 1952, to a daughter of Polish immigrants. His father was killed in local iron mines in 1957, so Dan was raised by his widowed mother and extended family. He worked in the family business, the Iron River Hotel, until he went to college. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1974 with a degree in biology.
From there, he graduated from Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1978. Prior to his election to Congress, he was a general surgeon in the Dickinson County Healthcare System.
U.S. House of Representatives
Dan Benishek formally announced his candidacy for Congress on March 16, 2010, running against incumbent Democrat Bart Stupak. Stupak's vote in support of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act fueled an outpouring of support for Benishek, who had no Internet presence aside from a basic website on the day the bill was passed. He received more than $50,000 in unsolicited donations in the first 48 hours after Stupak's vote for the bill on March 21, 2010. The American Spectator called him "The Most Popular Republican in America" on March 21, in the wake of Stupak's yea vote. Stupak announced his retirement on April 9, 2010. Benishek won the Republican primary against State Senator Jason Allen by 15 votes.
"It's amazing, I just can't believe it," he said regarding the support he has gotten. "I need to use this momentum to repeal this health care bill and I'm going to do it. We're going to take over, the Republicans are going to regain the House of Representatives and we're going to repeal this health care bill."
On November 2, 2010, in the general election, Dan Benishek defeated Democratic nominee State Representative Gary McDowell, Independent Glenn Wilson, Libertarian Keith Shelton, Green Ellis Boal, and UST Patrick Lambert.
Benishek was inaugurated on January 5, 2011, as a member of the 112th United States Congress; he succeeded Bart Stupak.
Benishek considers himself fiscally and socially conservative, pro-life and pro-gun rights. In healthcare reform, he supports the Republican position of tort reform and allowing insurance companies to compete across state lines without federal regulation. He staunchly opposes federal funding for elective abortions. He supports lower taxes and secure borders.
Benishek endorsed Herman Cain in the 2012 Republican presidential primary.
Benishek lives with his wife Judy in Iron County. They have five children. They also have two grandchildren.
November 26th, 2011