Peters another friend of NE Michigan

Former U.S. Sen. Carl Levin was a great friend of Alpena.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow has been equally supportive.

But the way things keep shaping up, U.S. Gary Peters ultimately could be the best friend of all.

Peters has spent a lot of time in Alpena during his term. Last summer he visited and enjoyed diving some of  the wrecks in the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. He also has worked tirelessly on military issues impacting the state, including the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center. Last year he was in Alpena flying a drone in support of our community’s Northern Michigan Unmanned Aerial Systems Consortium, and once he learned the region was going to be losing a U.S. Customs agent, he has worked to reverse an initial ruling not to replace that agent.

And, he is a huge defender of Great Lakes issues and ardent supporter of their protection.

This month Peters learned he will be appointed to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, an honor considering Levin chaired that committee for many years. Given the importance of military installations in Michigan, Peters’ appointment is especially significant.

Peters said there are seven military installations in the State of Michigan: Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center; Battle Creek Air National Guard Base; Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center; the Defense Logistics Agency at Hart-Doyle-Inouye Federal Center; Fort Custer Training Center; Selfridge Air National Guard Base; and U.S. Army Garrison-Detroit Arsenal. Additionally, Michigan is home to over 16,900 service members, 9,100 civilian Department of Defense employees, 650,000 veterans and a vibrant defense manufacturing sector.

Michigan always has been the arsenal of democracy, Peters said, and it is important to ensure that role continues. He believes his presence now on the committee will give Michigan another strong voice at the table.

“It is important to keep our bases, like the one in Alpena, maintained, operating fluently and vibrant,” Peters told Alpena News reporter Steve Schulwitz in a story last week. “Companies in Michigan produce everything from tanks, the armored F-35 aircraft and even footwear for the troops. This is about jobs in the state as well as national defense.”

As a Democrat, Peters will be a minority party member on the committee but that doesn’t concern him. He pointed to his strong record of being able to work with members of the Senate on both sides of the aisle, and he views that as an asset in representing Michigan on the committee.

Perhaps most importantly, Peters will know first hand about items being discussed on the committee. He volunteered for the U.S. Navy Reserve at age 34, drilling at Selfridge Air National Guard Base and rising to the rank of lieutenant commander. After the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, he volunteered again for drilling status.

“I look forward to being a strong voice in the Senate for Michigan’s servicemembers, veterans, military installations and the defense manufacturers that help our military complete their mission safely and effectively,” he said.

I’m excited by this appointment, and what it potentially could mean for the region, and all of us in Michigan.

Bill Speer can be reached via email at bspeer@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 354-3111 ext. 331. Follow Bill on Twitter @billspeer13. Read his blog, More BS (Bill Speer) at www.thealpenanews.com.