New Members 2010 - Michigan

House 01

House 02

House 03

House 07

House 13

REP.-ELECT DAN BENISHEK (R-MICH.-01)

Date of birth: April 20, 1952
Birthplace: Iron River, Mich.
Residence: Crystal Falls, Mich.
Occupation: Surgeon
Education: B.S., University of Michigan; M.D., Wayne State University
Previous office held: None
Family: Wife, Judy; five children, two grandchildren

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Dan Benishek replaces Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak in the Great Lakes State’s 1st congressional district, adding to the GOP’s conference for the 112th Congress. A career surgeon from the Upper Peninsula, Benishek beat state Rep. Gary McDowell (D) in the general election, but only after scraping by in his primary; he beat state Sen. Jason Allen by 15 votes in the primary. Benishek’s candidacy gained momentum at the height of the healthcare reform fight in Congress in early 2010, in which Stupak was a key player. Benishek took back a seat — the second-largest congressional district east of the Mississippi River — that’s leaned Republican for some time now.


REP.-ELECT BILL HUIZENGA (R-MICH.-02)

Date of birth: Jan. 31, 1969
Birthplace:   Zeeland, Mich.
Residence:   Zeeland, Mich.
Occupation: Business owner
Education: B.A., Calvin College
Previous office held: State representative
Family:Wife, Natalie; five children

Bill Huizenga, staffer for Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), will take his boss’s old seat in January after having won the battle for Michigan’s 2nd congressional district. The former public policy director for Hoekstra ran for state House in 2002 after a stint in the private sector and won, serving there until 2008. Huizenga beat Democratic candidate Fred Johnson in the general election only after having eked out victory in a crowded GOP primary. In that race, Huizenga edged former NFL/University of Michigan football player Jay Riemersma by 663 votes.


REP.-ELECT JUSTIN AMASH (R-MICH.-03)

Date of birth: April 18, 1980
Birthplace:  Grand Rapids, Mich.
Residence: Cascade Township, Mich.
Occupation: State representative
Education: B.A., J.D., University of Michigan
Previous office held: State representative
Family: Wife, Kara; three children

State Rep. Justin Amash will take his place in the House after just a year in the Michigan state House. The young, libertarian-leaning Republican was endorsed by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) in his bid to make it to Washington, where he’ll take the seat of retiring Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-Mich.).
He established a reputation as a social-media maven during his short political career, posting his vote on every bill in the state House on his Facebook page. Amash, a graduate of the University of Michigan’s undergraduate and law school programs, will hold the same seat that another U-M great, former President Ford, once held in the House. (It was the 5th district when Ford held the seat.)


REP.-ELECT TIM WALBERG (R-MICH.-07)

Date of birth: April 12, 1951
Birthplace:  Chicago
Residence:  Tipton, Mich.
Occupation: Preacher, elected official
Education: B.S., Taylor University, Fort Wayne; M.A., Wheaton College
Previous office held:  Member of the House of Representatives, 2007- 2009
Family: Wife, Sue; three children, two grandchildren 

The extremely conservative Tim Walberg proudly claimed earlier this year that he was a Tea Partier long before Rick Santelli’s now-infamous rant on CNBC, and he’s got a point. Walberg’s upset of centrist Republican Rep. Joe Schwarz (R-Mich.) in the 2006 primary is still the model for Tea Party candidates challenging incumbents from the right. A former pastor with strong support from socially conservative organizations such as The Club for Growth, Walberg lost a narrow election to Democrat Mark Schauer (D-Mich.) in 2008 despite outperforming Republican presidential candidate John McCain by 10,000 votes. He got his revenge when he took his seat back from Schauer this year. Walberg resisted an early primary challenge from a relative newcomer: attorney and Marine veteran Brian Rooney, whose family owns the Pittsburgh Steelers.

REP.-ELECT HANSEN CLARKE (D-MICH.-13)

Date of birth: March 2, 1957
Birthplace: Detroit, Mich.
Residence:  Detroit, Mich.
Occupation: Attorney, state legislator
Education: B.F.A., Cornell University; J.D., Georgetown University Law School
Previous office held: Michigan State Senate, 2002-present
Family: Wife Choi Palmer-Cohen

The son of an African-American mother and an Indian-American father, Hansen Clarke shook up the state’s Democratic establishment when he deposed longtime Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick in the primary. An only child growing up on Detroit’s lower-east side, Clarke lost his father at the age of eight, leaving his mother to support the family as a school crossing guard. Despite facing economic hardship, Clarke’s natural gift for art was recognized at a young age, and he eventually earned a scholarship to study painting at Cornell University. While at school he lost his mother, leading him to drop out before eventually returning and graduating with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts. He later attended Georgetown University Law School and rose to become chief of staff for Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.). A veteran state legislator and the rare Detroit politician with potential statewide appeal, Clarke is considered a rising star in the state Democratic Party and is the only South-Asian American in Congress.