1st Congressional District Congressman Dan Benishek wants to be accountable to his constituents. Toward that end, this week he issued an accounting of his first year in office with a "2011 Annual Report - Michigan's First Congressional District."
The report is available for download at this website - benishek.house.gov/2011 Annual Report.
Truthfully, the report is one of the best accounting of an elected official's year in office that we have seen. Everything Benishek was involved with is documented, and it makes for interesting reading.
For instance, who would have thought that in one year, his office would have received 68,686 pieces of mail that required 65,663 responses? Marquette County residents wrote the most with 7,307 inquiries, with Keweenaw County the least at 224. Alpena County residents wrote nearly 2,500 times, Presque Isle County just a little over 1,100, Alcona County around 900 and Montmorency County about 700.
Of the correspondence, environmental issues garnered 11.5 percent of the inquiries, Medicare 11.5 percent and budget issues, 10.8 percent.
The 1st Congressional District's demographics look much more like a district in Florida than Michigan when it comes to age, but not average temperature. One in three residents in the district receive a check from the federal government each month and of the 435 districts in the United States, Michigan's 1st Congressional has the 16th largest concentration of veterans living here.
We appreciate the report and the congressman's transparent accounting of his first year. It is a strong showing from a freshman legislator, and we urge readers to investigate more of it for themselves.