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Retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John W. “Jack” Bergman is circulating petitions to run for the 1st Congressional District seat in Congress, representing more than 30 counties in northern Michigan, including the Upper Peninsula, he said.

The candidates to succeed Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, who is retiring at the end of the term, already include state Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba; former state Sen. Jason Allen, R-Traverse City; former Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Lon Johnson of Kalkaska; and Jerry Cannon, the former Kalkaska County sheriff who was Benishek's opponent in 2014.

Bergman, 69, said he has been a resident of Watersmeet for 18 years, living there a majority of the time for the last six years since retiring from the Marines.

Bergman had a hybrid career, working as a commercial airline pilot for Northwest Airlines for many years while serving in the Marine Corps Reserves. He was recalled to active duty from 2003-09. He also operates a small sales and distribution company for medical equipment.

“I have never been part of a political party because as a military officer I swear an oath to the Constitution, not to a political party,” Bergman said.

He describes himself as a fiscal conservative who emphasizes education and using the Constitution as the model for developing “good policies and programs that work.”

mburke@detroitnews.com

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