U.S. Sen. Gary Peters visits Baldwin during motorcycle tour
BALDWIN — Democratic U.S. Sen. Gary Peters revved into Baldwin on his Harley-Davidson Dyna Super Glide on Friday morning after five days of traveling through Michigan on his third annual motorcycle tour.
“Every year we visit different areas in Michigan on the motorcycle tour,” Peters said. “This gives me time to visit rural areas. I have been an avid motorcyclist from a young age. I have to get from point A to point B, and what better way than a motorcycle?”
During the Senator’s visit in Baldwin, he toured restoration efforts along the Pere Marquette River and its tributaries and recognized the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic River Act, which designated the Pere Marquette on a state and national level. The efforts to restore the river have been supported the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). Peters, a member of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, has supported fully funding GLRI.
Peters canoed down the Pere Marquette and visited the Baldwin U.S. Forest Service, where he met with several partners involved with restoration efforts including the Pere Marquette Watershed Council, Conservation Resource Alliance, the Lake County Road Commission, U.S. Forest Ranger Jake Lubera and others. He also toured two culvert projects along the Sanborn Creek, a tributary of the Pere Marquette, along Forman and Broadway roads.
“I’ve been a vigorous advocate of the Great Lakes. Next to the people, the Great Lakes is the most important asset Michigan has. Keeping the tributaries clean and supporting the ecosystem is not only important to the Great Lakes, but to the local economies,” he said. “We want to fight to keep funding restoration initiatives, and we have been successful.
“Today, I wanted to see firsthand how these funds have been used. The stories I have heard today will make me an even more forceful advocate in Washington, D.C. The big story today is tributaries to the Great Lakes, such as the Pere Marquette River, have a very powerful economic development aspect. It is about creating jobs, healthy fish hatcheries, recreation dollars and tourism dollars in the community.
“The other thing, people all over the country visit the Pere Marquette River. It is a national asset, not just for Lake County or Michigan. This river is where the brown trout were first introduced in North America. Protecting the watershed is important to the whole country, and this is why the whole government needs to invest in this watershed.”
Along with supporting the Great Lakes, Peters said he is focused on legislation regarding veterans, increasing broadband internet access in rural areas and expanding opportunities for students in career and technical education.
“It is a major focus of mine to expand programs so people can get skills needed for the many open positions in trade careers such as welding, plumbing, carpentry and electrical,” he said. “There is a long list of jobs opening which pay very well and generate good income. This legislation will facilitate high school counselors to help students look at skilled trades as options instead of just pushing folks to go through four-year programs.”
Peters also is pushing for a bipartisan bill to combat the opioid crisis, with specific focus on treating addiction in adolescents.
“The opioid crisis is impacting everywhere in the state,” he said. “It is a public health crisis. I am working to provide more federal money to local communities to provide measures to help treat substance abuse. There is a treatment which is using other drugs to ween addicts off opioids, but these drugs aren’t addictive and they counteract symptoms. It is considered one of the best treatments, but it was accessible to only people 18 and older, not adolescents.
“I have been working with the medical community, and they confirmed there is no medical reason why adolescents can’t access this treatment. It passed in the Senate to allow physicians to use this treatment on adolescents.”
While talking with the Pioneer, Peters chimed in about the recent primary election.
“The most encouraging thing I got out of this past election was the incredibly strong turnout,” he said. “I think we will see even more voter turnout in November. The more people who participate, the stronger our democracy will be.”
After a morning in Lake County, Peters zoomed off to Ludington, where he wrapped up his motorcycle tour.
He said a memorable moment on the tour was when he rode a restored 1957 Harley Sportster from Traverse City to Kalkaska.
“One thing I take away with that experience is technology has come a long way,” he joked. “But it was pure fun to ride. Michigan is a huge state, and a motorcycle ride is certainly a great way to experience it.”