ESCANABA - The Upper Peninsula has the resources and people it needs to have a thriving economy, but too often government gets in the way, according to Pete Hoekstra, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate.
Hoekstra was in Escanaba Wednesday and Friday, meeting with residents and business people.
Hoekstra said he sees much potential in the U.P. with mining, logging and other resources that can be a source of employment. "The Upper Peninsula can manage its resources in a responsible way," Hoekstra said. "The potential is here."
Hoekstra cited the Kennecott mining project in Marquette County and other emerging mining interests around the U.P. as positive signs for the region's economy.
He also cited the acquisition of Marquette General Hospital by Duke Hospitals as a positive economic sign for the area. "There are a lot of projects here," he said.
Hoekstra said people in the logging industry have told him that government regulation is hurting their livelihood - citing they are allowed to log a much smaller area than before. "That's killing opportunity," he said.
During his trip to the U.P., Hoekstra said the state of the economy has been the major concern of residents he has spoken to.
Hoekstra also looked ahead to the upcoming primary election in August and general election in November. "A lot can happen in five months," he said, adding he is optimistic about his campaign.
Hoekstra is ultimately seeking the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Sen. Debbie Stabenow.
"The majority of people are ready for a change,"Hoekstra said. "I don't think people want to see Debbie Stabenow in the Senate for 18 years."
Hoekstra said he is doing favorably in the polls and feels he has a good understanding of U.P. residents. "My values match the values of the U.P.," he said.