Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Grand Traverse Tribal Chairman Derek Bailey to run for First District Congressional seat

TRAVERSE CITY -- Calling for an end to the gridlock that has gripped Washington, Derek Bailey, Tribal Chairman for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, recently declared his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives in Michigan’s First District.

Derek Bailey, Tribal Chairman for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, recently announced he will run as a Democrat for the First Congressional District of Michigan -- the seat now held by Republican Congressman Dan Benishek. (Photo courtesy Derek Bailey for Congress)

Bailey will run as a Democrat -- joining Democrat Gary McDowell, who announced his candidacy in mid-September -- in the Democratic primary. The winner of that primary would challenge Republican Congressman Dan Benishek, one-term incumbent, who defeated McDowell by a small margin in 2010.

"In Congress we need vibrant, creative and strong leadership in advancing the needs of the citizens in northern Michigan," said Bailey. "We need to look at reigning in spending and reducing the nation’s overwhelming pile of debt. We need to look at sensible tax policies that are balanced, fair and responsible, and that address needs of working people and not energy companies, which have seen record profits."

Bailey noted he would work with both parties to solve problems if elected.

"I am running to truly represent the citizenship in District One in word and in deed, to make sure our voice is heard," Bailey said. "Now is the time to promote respect and dignity for every citizen in our district. I'm dedicated to working collaboratively in Washington for the betterment of our citizenship and national economy."

Bailey said he would work to protect the Great Lakes environment. He has been an outspoken tribal and community leader on Asian carp and other invasive species.

"Protection of our greatest natural resource must be shown through a commitment driven by knowledge, understanding and spirit. I will bring that strong northern Michigan voice to the halls of Congress," he said.

Bailey said he would work to strengthen education, and he currently serves on the National Advisory Council on Indian Education -- an appointment made in November 2010 by President Obama. He said he would be a fierce advocate for early childhood education and meeting the needs of rural families.

"Our children, our future leaders, not only need but demand that we find educational opportunities and funding that will secure their success in the future," Bailey said.

He added, "We need to build bridges between our citizens. Working together respectfully -- rolling up our sleeves and getting the work of the people accomplished -- is the basic expectation for our representatives. I pledge, and stand by my past work efforts, that I will bring this perspective to Congress, and, simply, get work done.

"We are all in this together," Bailey said. "We need jobs and we need stability in our economy. Our elected leaders need to start rowing the boat and stop rocking it."

Michigan's First Congressional District has been redrawn for the 2012 election cycle. It now includes the entire Upper Peninsula and portions of the northwest Lower Peninsula, including several counties currently not in the First District.

"It’s time for true leadership in Washington to work together to address the challenges before us," Bailey said. "Let's build the bridges that cross our differences and create a stronger nation for all, just as the founding fathers envisioned. The time is now: our nation's future depends on us."

Bailey was elected to tribal council in 2004 and served until 2008, when he was elected tribal chairman.

For more information, visit Derek Bailey's Web site or email

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