Rep. Dan Benishek looks back on his three terms in Congress

Published: Jul. 19, 2016 at 9:33 PM EDT
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Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, will be leaving the U.S. House of Representatives in just a few short months.

Tuesday afternoon, after filming an episode of Public TV 13's "Media Meet", which will air July 30 at 6:30 p.m. and July 31 at 1:30 p.m., Benishek spoke about his time in Congress.

He said his biggest accomplishment has been serving Michigan veterans.

"We had 12 Veteran Assistance Fairs across the district where we got benefits to over 1,000 veterans that attended," Benishek said. "I wish I could have done more at the national level to change the VA to make it more efficient and better for our veterans, and that's something that I hope the next guy will continue."

There are three Republicans and two Democrats running for Michigan's First Congressional District in the August primary.

Republicans include former State Sen. Jason Allen of Traverse City, retired U.S. Marine Corps general Jack Bergman of Watersmeet and State Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba.

The Democrats include retired Kalkaska County Sheriff Jerry Cannon of Traverse City and Former Michigan Democratic Party chair Lon Johnson of Kalkaska.

Benishek is endorsing Casperson.

"I think Mr. Casperson best personifies, frankly, northern Michigan values," Benishek said. "He's a former logging truck driver; he's familiar with the hardworking people here in northern Michigan; I think he's done a good job in the senate and I think he's the guy to do the job."

In addition to improving accessibility to the VA, Benishek said jobs and the economy need to be a focus.

"In Traverse City or Marquette, it's not too bad around here, but the remainder of my district it's pretty tough," Benishek said. "Right now we've got a little bit of a boost in the summer because we've got the tourism going on, but it's hard for people to make ends meet frankly, and we need to change the way Washington works to make it easier for people in northern Michigan to get a good job and get raises."

Benishek said one way to change the way Washington works is by electing Donald Trump.

"At the national level of course, I'm endorsing Mr. Trump," Benishek said. "I think he's the best guy to change what's happening in Washington, and we certainly need that. He's going to shake things up, he's not politically correct, he's out there, he says what it is and I'm looking forward to the election."