Congressman Gary Peters (D. MI-14) made a pretty big speech in response to Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr who is looking to end traditional collective bargaining with Detroit unions at a fundraiser with Vice President Joe Biden:


The swanky crowd of 1,500 stood and clapped for nearly a minute as Democratic Vice President Joe Biden was announced at the 2013 Jefferson-Jackson fundraising dinner in Detroit Saturday.

U.S. Rep Gary Peters of Detroit spoke leading up to Biden’s keynote speech in the sold-out banquet room in Detroit’s Cobo Center.

His short speech touched on issues familiar to union-strong Detroit.

Peters said while Republicans make decisions that will increase the cost of health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid for seniors and push legislation that hurts working middle-class families, “companies get tax breaks for outsourcing and shipping our jobs overseas.

“Workers have a right to collectively bargain,” Peters said over the clank of silverwear. “When labor unions are strong, so are the middle class…

And in the workplace, we believe women must get equal pay for equal work and we will not stop until they do.”

If the U.S. wants to open its markets to the rest of the world, “China must open their markets to us as well,” Peters said. - Michigan Live, 4/20/13

Peters has a terrific record on organized labor and has been mentioned as a leading contender to run for retiring Senator Carl Levin (D. MI):


In recent weeks, Peters has been trying to build consensus to be the Democratic Party's nominee for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring U.S. Senate Carl Levin, who introduced Biden, a longtime friend and Senate colleague.

Levin reminded Democrats his term doesn't end until the end of 2014.

"I'm a long way from leaving the U.S. Senate by the way," Levin said. "It has been a great run, but it's going to be an even greater next 20 months. I'm going to be there fighting like hell for what we believe in Michigan." - The Detroit Free Press, 4/20/13

Peter's received high praise and a terrific endorsement from Albert Garrett, President and Lawrence A. Roehrig, Secretary-Treasurer of Michigan Council 25 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), AFL-CIO:


"The Executive Board of Michigan AFSCME Council 25, AFL-CIO, acting on the recommendation of Regional Vice Presidents from the Fourteenth Congressional District, voted unanimously to endorse Gary Peters for election as Representative from the Fourteenth Congressional District in the 2012 Primary Election," stated Garrett.  "Currently, Gary Peters is the Congressional Representative from the Ninth District.  Due to redistricting, he is running for re-election as Representative from the Fourteenth District."

Gary Peters received his Bachelor's degree from Alma College, and MBA from the University of Detroit - Mercy, a Masters in Philosophy from Michigan State University, and his law degree from Wayne State University.  He was first elected to Congress in 2008.  He has served on the House Financial Services Committee and the Small Business Committee, and has established a record of supporting the interests of working families in Michigan.  He helped to write the most sweeping Wall Street Reform legislation since the Great Depression, supported small business tax cuts and tax cuts for middle class families, and helped lead the fight to save the auto industry and thousands of jobs.

"Like generations before us, we are facing a critical juncture in our nation's history," stated Roehrig.  "We need leaders who are willing to try bold ideas and new solutions so we can make our country a better place for future generations.  That is how our government is supposed to work.  That's why AFSCME has endorsed Gary Peters for Congress." - International Business Times, 3/7/12

Peter has been making the news on two big labor-related issues.  The first is his probe into Governor Rick Snyder's (R. MI) Government Accountability Office:


Kevyn Orr listens to a question during a news conference in Detroit, Thursday, March 14, 2013. Gov. Rick Snyder announced that he had chosen Orr, a partner in the Cleveland-based law and restructuring Jones Day firm, as Detroit's emergency manager. Snyder's already declared a financial emergency in Detroit, saying local officials lacked a plan to solve it. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Two congressmen who represent Detroit are asking the Government Accountability Office to investigate emergency managers in Michigan.

Democratic Reps. John Conyers and Gary Peters made their request in a letter sent to the agency Thursday, one week after bankruptcy expert Kevyn Orr was appointed Detroit's emergency financial manager.

Conyers and Peters asked the office to "conduct a study of the Michigan emergency manager law, including the operation of federally funded programs." - Wood TV, 3/21/13

The other press Peters has been getting is his concern about Japan's involvement with the Trans-Pacific Partnership:


On Thursday, nearly 50 members of Congress, including nine senators, said allowing Japan to join free-trade talks with 10 other nations could lead to more Japanese auto imports and fewer American auto jobs.

The United States and 10 other nations — including Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore and Brunei — have been in talks since 2011 aimed at creating a massive free trade zone that would eliminate all tariffs and barriers among the nations.

In the letter sent Thursday, the members of Congress, including Michigan Sens. Carl Levin and Stabenow, and Reps. Sander Levin, John Dingell, John Conyers, Kildee and Gary Peters, raised concerns about allowing Japan to take part, but stopped short of formally calling on him not to let Japan into the talks.

"American automobile companies and workers — those at the forefront of today's economic recovery — have been forced to compete for decades on a fundamentally unlevel playing field," the letter said. "A flawed, one-way trade agreement that benefits Japan at the expense of the United States businesses and workers will not help strengthen this vital relationship."

The Obama administration faces heavy pressure from Detroit's Big Three automakers and the United Auto Workers union, who fear that dropping U.S. tariffs could lead to the loss of thousands of jobs if Japan doesn't do more to open its market to imports.

The letter noted that if the U.S. agreed to drop car and truck tariffs on Japanese exports under a free trade deal, it "would be a major benefit to Japan without any gain for a vital American industry, leading to more Japanese imports, less American production, and fewer American jobs." - The Detroit Free Press, 3/15/13

Peters speech was viewed by many as his warm up for his run for the U.S. Senate:


Levin's Senate colleague, Debbie Stabenow, drew a muted reaction when she followed U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, often mentioned as contender for Levin's seat, at the microphone, saying of him: "He looks like a senator doesn't he?" - USA Today, 4/20/13
I for one ave been excited about the idea of Peters running for Senate.  Especially now that he doesn't have to worry about a serious primary challenger:


Debbie Dingell, a long-time Democratic Party power broker and member of the Wayne State board of governors, said Saturday she will not run for U.S. Senate in 2014 to replace Carl Levin.

The move likely clears the field for U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, to win the Democratic nomination.

In a statement, Dingell said she wanted to avoid a costly primary with Peters and other candidates.

"I think it is critical that Democrats unite behind one candidate for what will be a difficult and expensive race, and it's one of the reasons I have concluded that now is not the time for me to run for the United States Senate," said Dingell, a former president of the General Motors Foundation who is president of D2 Strategies, and is chair of the Manufacturing Initiative of the American Automotive Policy Council, a trade group of Detroit's Big Three automakers.

"We have good candidates like Gary Peters considering running, and a primary would be divisive at a time that cries out for unity. As someone who has spent much of my career working to bring people together, it just didn't feel right to take this step now. There may be a time when elective office is the right choice for me, but this was not it," said Dingell. Dingell, who is married to Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, had been mulling a Senate run for weeks and recent polling showed she might have been the front-runner if she had entered the race. Her announcement came hours before Vice President Joe Biden addressed Michigan Democrats Saturday night at the annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner at Cobo Center in Detroit.

"We can't afford to lose this seat," Dingell said in an interview Saturday. - The Detroit Free Press, 4/20/13

Not to mention Peters has an early fundraising edge:


Peters, a Democrat from Bloomfield Township, filed a first-quarter campaign finance report Monday that showed he raised more than $370,000 since the beginning of the year. His campaign committee has more than $800,000 in cash on hand.

For now, that funding is intended to secure what would be Peters’ fourth two-year term as a congressman. But early last month, Levin — a six-term U.S. senator and Democrat from Detroit — announced he would not run for re-election next year, touching off what could be a rush to fill the job. Peters told the Free Press last month that he was seriously considering entering the race.

The fund-raising total, meanwhile, doesn’t include some of the efforts Peters has made since Levin made the announcement: Just last weekend, Cynthia and Edsel Ford hosted an event on Peters’ behalf. The congressman also took part in an event with Muslim community leaders.

Peters said he was “grateful for the support from Michiganders who want good jobs and a strong future for our families.” - Detroit Free Press, 4/16/13

I believe Peters is going to be a terrific candidate and make an amazing Senator.  He certainly would make a great colleague for Senator Debbie Stabenow (D. MI):


U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) and U.S. Rep. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Township) introduced the Advanced Vehicle Technology Act, saying its reauthorization of the Energy Department’s Vehicle Technologies Program will help automakers conduct research that will help lead to the next generation of fuel-efficient cars and trucks.

No cost was immediately associated with the legislation, any appropriation for which would still need to go through the regular congressional process.

The two sponsors of the legislation said the bill directs the Energy Department to work with public and private sector entitles to invest in new technologies, including hydrogen power and advanced batteries. And while some of that investment may be long-term, the bill also provides the agency resources for more rapidly deploying emerging technologies if it appears they could result in significant fuel savings.

The legislation also emphasizes research and development programs for medium and heavy duty trucks, directing the Energy Department to appoint a director to coordinate research and development efforts between government and private industry. - Detroit Free Press, 3/7/13

Peters would also be another great ally on environmental issues:


When first introduced, the Advanced Vehicle Technology Act had wide bipartisan support in the House of Representatives, and was endorsed by numerous automobile manufacturers and environmental groups. It is now being reintroduced by Michigan Congressman Gary Peters and Senator Debbie Stabenow in a bicameral effort to direct nearly $3 billion to the Department of Energy for research and development of advanced vehicle technology, to include U.S. made-battery and electric drive components that will significantly improve efficiency in our nation’s vehicle fleet. The bill also seeks to advance state and local initiatives in developing and promoting advanced vehicle technologies, manufacturing, and infrastructure. The bill would enable progress across the U.S. auto industry, covering light-duty passenger vehicles to heavy-duty trucks and buses.

By incentivizing the development of homegrown advanced vehicle technology, the bill would help meet strong fuel efficiency standards and diversify and expand the alternative fuel market. Continued technology development would also lead to more affordable fuel and reduced dependence on foreign oil. The bill also creates job opportunities in American manufacturing and infrastructure expansion, especially among highly skilled positions, and seeks to bridge high quality job applicants with manufacturing employment needs through groundbreaking workforce development initiatives. The bill’s release is complemented with another bill in the Senate that focuses on job creation and on growing the American industry sector. - Earth Techling, 3/13/13

Not to mention, Occupy Detroit might have someone in the Senate they can trust:


U.S. Rep. Gary Peters joined the 99 percent on Sunday, rallying against Wall Street with Occupy Detroit.

WWJ reports that Peters and members of the United Auto Workers joined protesters at Grand Circus Park, where many have been camping out since mid-October.

While the Occupy movement is often criticized for a lack of focus, Peters made it clear why he joined the local rally.

    Nov. 6, WWJ: "It's speculation on Wall Street that we're still paying the price for here, particularly in Detroit that almost brought the auto industry to a collapse because of what we saw on Wall Street. So we put in restrictions, or put in regulations necessary to reign that in, and right now in Washington I’m facing a Republican majority that wants to undo that," said Peters. - Michigan Live, 11/7/11

So yeah, I can't wait for Peters to make his Senate candidacy official so I can write some more great diaries about him.

Originally posted to pdc on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 08:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, and Motor City Kossacks.

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