11.11.19

Dearborn Press & Guide: Sen. Gary Peters hosts town hall event at Dearborn senior living facility

A discussion of the current political climate and preview of the 2020 elections dominated a town hall discussion with U.S. Sen. Gary Peters Monday at Henry Ford Village.

The ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee visited the Dearborn senior living community as part of his Veterans Day tour of the city. Scores of HFV residents gathered in the Chapel to hear Peters, who was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008 and to the Senate in 2014.

HFV Executive Director Bruce Blalock welcomed Peters, who promptly recognized and thanked veterans in attendance. He spoke of his father, a WWII veteran, and with gratitude about those who have and continue to serve in the military.

“Freedom isn’t free. We have to have people who are willing to serve,” he said. “Right now, fewer than one percent of the people in this country serve in the military. We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to a small number of people who don a uniform and are all over the world.”

Pontiac-born Peters volunteered for the U.S Navy Reserve at age 34, rising to the rank of lieutenant commander before leaving in 2008. He volunteered for duty again following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Peters held various local and state government positions, including state lottery commissioner, before heading off to Congress more than a decade ago.

In his opening remarks, Peters spoke of those who have served and are now afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He said adjusting from military life to civilian life can be difficult because of the often-invisible wounds of war that heavily impact post-military life.

“Some 20,000 veterans are in that kind of a situation, and we have to do a better job of taking care of them,” Peters told the crowd.

In addition to the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Peters serves on two Armed Services Committee subcommittees. One of those bodies has oversight of Special Forces Operations, which he described as “men and women who are vigilant and will do what is necessary to do what is necessary” to terrorists who threaten our freedom.

During the town hall portion of his visit, residents – who warmly welcomed Peters – peppered him with a variety of questions ranging from political campaign funding to the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline and the impeachment threat against President Trump.

The first query from the crowd was about a current television ad for the New Green Deal that claims Peters is against things such as the auto industry and red meat.

“Cars are very important to us, and I’m a tireless advocate for the auto industry,” he said. “I love steak and I love burgers,” he quipped, “but that shows you how people who place ads like these don’t let the truth get in the way of what they want to say.”

The partisan division in Washington was also addressed, with Peters saying he always seeks a Republican co-sponsor when introducing a bill in the Senate. His most recent success is a bill co-sponsored by Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio which contained additional money to clean up toxic sites in the Great Lakes, and deal with invasive species and other issues.

“We have differences across the aisle. There’s no question there are differences where the parties are,” he said, “but there’s a lot more that we have in common, and we have to focus on that.”

Upon leaving Henry Ford Village, Peters headed to the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center to participate in the city’s annual Veterans Day Ceremony.


By:  John Zadikian
Source: Dearborn Press & Guide