Day 3 #RideMI Motorcycle Tour: Peters Stops in Big Rapids, Newaygo & Fennville

FENNVILLE, MI –U.S. Senator Gary Peters began day three of his #RideMI Motorcycle Tour with a visit to Wolverine Worldwide in Big Rapids, where he joined Blake Krueger, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, in announcing a 16,000 square foot expansion of the facility. Wolverine Worldwide is an important manufacturer of footwear for the United States military and has recently seen an increase in contract awards to produce boots and dress shoes for America’s servicemembers. Wolverine World Wide plans to break ground on their new raw materials receiving warehouse later this fall with a target date for completion in early 2017.

“Not only does Wolverine Worldwide do an incredible job providing quality, reliable footwear for our men and women in uniform, but they are also committed to their employees and the Big Rapids community,” said Senator Peters. “I am proud to announce the expansion of Wolverine Worldwide’s facility and remain committed to supporting Michigan’s local manufacturers in the U.S. Senate.”

"I would like to thank Senator Peters for his continued commitment to manufacturing in Michigan and for including our Big Rapids footwear production facility in his statewide motorcycle tour," said Wolverine Worldwide Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer Blake Krueger. "Senator Peters is working hard in Washington to ensure that our company can continue providing good paying manufacturing jobs here in Western Michigan.  All of us at Wolverine Worldwide are very proud to be crafting world-class footwear for our men and women in uniform.”

Senator Peters, a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, has worked to maintain and strengthen manufacturing jobs in Big Rapids with bipartisan legislation that would require the Department of Defense (DoD) to provide American-made athletic footwear to new military recruits. DoD already applies this policy – known as the Berry Amendment – to uniforms and combat boots, but not athletic footwear. This provision would greatly benefit manufacturers like Wolverine Worldwide, which produces Saucony athletic shoes, and help spur local economic growth.

Peters then travelled to Newaygo, where he visited global automotive supplier Magna Mirrors, one of the largest producers of automotive mirror and vision systems. Senator Peters toured their production facility to see firsthand the cutting-edge technology and increasingly sophisticated electronic functions incorporated into Magna’s product line, which includes exterior and interior mirror systems, actuators, electrochromic glass and door handle systems. Peters also discussed bipartisan legislation he introduced to strengthen our nation’s role as a leader in innovation by expanding access to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs.

“Magna Mirrors is another example of Michigan workers leading the way in the development of advanced automotive technology and manufacturing that is solving challenges, increasing productivity and improving lives,” said Senator Peters. “But in order to remain globally competitive, we must prepare our students for the high-tech jobs of the future with smart investments in STEM education and basic science and research.”

“On behalf of the entire Magna Mirrors Newaygo team, we welcome Senator Peters to our place of business,” said Brian Chadwell, the plant’s general manager. “The automotive industry is an exciting place to be, one of the most high-tech industries in the world and also an industry at the leading edge of developing tomorrow’s mobility systems.”


Senator Peters introduced the bipartisan American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, which sets federal science and research policy for the coming years. The legislation, which passed the Senate Commerce Committee in June, includes provisions to improve STEM education. The bill would create a STEM education advisory panel of experts to provide recommendations and help guide federal decision-making on STEM education programs and expand National Science Foundation (NSF) grant programs to include more women and minorities. 


Peters’ last stop on the third day of his #RideMI Motorcycle Tour was Fenn Valley Vineyards in Allegan County, where he discussed his work to support Michigan’s growing craft beverage industry. Michigan’s wine industry contributes over $300 million annually to the state economy, and its vineyard area has doubled in the last 10 years, with over 13,700 acres devoted to grape and wine-grape growing.

“Michigan wineries are a critical component to job creation and economic growth in the state, which is why I am focused on reducing costs to promote growth and encourage hiring in the industry,” said Senator Peters, a member of the Small Business Committee. “I appreciate the opportunity to tour Fenn Valley Vineyards’ beautiful winery and see firsthand how Michigan’s unique climate, precious natural resources, and dedicated workers contribute to the making of our state’s incredible wine.”


“It is an exciting time for Michigan’s wine industry, which continues to grow and thrive. Fenn Valley Vineyards applauds Senator Peters’ efforts to build on this momentum by helping wine producers reinvest in their business and further stimulate our state’s economy,” said Brian Lesperance, Fenn Valley Vineyards Vice President of Operations & Winemaking. "We thank him for his support of the Craft Beverage Modernization Act that would reduce excise taxes and regulatory burdens to make Michigan’s craft beverage industry more competitive.


Senator Peters cosponsored the bipartisan Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, which would reduce excise taxes, compliance burdens and regulations for brewers, cider makers, vintners, and distillers. The legislation would expand the wine producer tax credit to increase the benefit, cover more wineries, and promote regional growth. Wine producers would receive a new tax credit of $1.00 per wine gallon on the first 30,000 wine gallons produced for any domestic winery regardless of size. Domestic wineries producing less than 2 million wine gallons would be able to claim an additional credit of 90 cents per wine gallon credit for the subsequent 100,000 wine gallons produced. It would also lower taxes on low-alcohol wines up to 14.25% ABV. This legislation includes measures from a bill Senator Peters introduced with Republican Senator Dan Sullivan (AK) reducing excise taxes on small distilleries.


Tomorrow, Senator Peters will visit Van Buren, Cass, and St. Joseph counties on the fourth day of his #RideMI Motorcycle tour.