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North Michigan professor plans run for Congress

Melissa Nann Burke
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Northern Michigan University professor Dwight Brady, a Democrat, said Monday he plans on running for Congress to represent the 1st District – a seat held by Republican Rep. Jack Bergman.

The 1st District covers the Upper Peninsula and the northern third of the lower peninsula. A primary election is expected, as another Democrat, retired Marine Lt. Col. Matthew W. Morgan of Traverse City, last month declared his candidacy.

Brady, who lives in Marquette, in 1997 joined NMU, where he teaches media law and multimedia journalism. He’s worked with students to produce documentaries on topics from the gray wolf to big-box stores avoiding property taxes in Michigan.

Brady would work to oppose some proposed budget cuts by President Donald Trump, whom he says has “declared war” on the Great Lakes and rural America with plans to scrap a cleanup program for the lakes, end federal subsidies for air service to small cities and eliminate heating assistance for seniors.

“The turning point for me was when I was standing in the voting booth last November and looking at the choices, both Republican and Democrat, and neither had strong ties to the district. Lon Johnson at least was from the state,” Brady said of the Democratic nominee. “It’s offensive to me to see people jumping in from other areas. I thought, maybe it’s time.”

Last year, both candidates faced questions about their residency in northern Michigan. Bergman, a retired Marine lieutenant general, owns homes both in Watersmeet, in the U.P. and in Louisiana.

Bergman’s opponent, Johnson, said he was the fifth generation of his family to live in the Kalkaska area but moved away for his wife’s job and when he chaired the state party in Lansing.

Bergman defeated Johnson last fall to succeed Rep. Dan Benishek of Crystal Falls, who retired.

Brady, 57, grew up in Schoolcraft County, where his parents ran a lake resort for more than 40 years.

He graduated from Manistique High School in 1978, earned his undergraduate degree at Grand Valley State and worked as a TV sportscaster for several years before pursuing a master’s degree in telecommunications management from Michigan State University. He also has a doctorate in communications from the University of Tennessee.

Brady said he feels strongly about issues like nationalizing the health care system, protecting the rights of gun owners, reining in the national debt, and keeping Social Security and Medicare solvent.

He has not yet filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission. Brady said he considered running for Congress in 2010 but decided instead to work on the campaign of Democrat Gary McDowell that year and in 2012. Now, McDowell is endorsing Brady in 2018.

“Dwight would have made a great congressman in 2010, and he certainly will in 2018,” McDowell said in a statement.

mburke@detroitnews.com

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