Congressman Dave Camp to get challenger
Andrew D. Concannon has faced challenges in the courtroom, but may face his biggest in the court of public opinion.
The 40-year-old Saginaw Township attorney and Democrat has declared he intends to challenge veteran U.S. Rep. Dave Camp, a Midland Republican, for a seat in Congress.
''The district needed a new voice,'' said Concannon, who was expected to announce his candidacy today inside the Saginaw Township Hall. ''We've had nine terms of Dave Camp and I don't think he's been effective as a leader. I don't think he's been sensitive to the needs of the vast majority of the people of the district."
Concannon, who has never held elected office, said Camp has voted against increases in the federal minimum wage, tighter restraints on predatory lending and health care coverage for children, among other issues that have hurt constituents.
Sage Eastman, a Camp spokesman, said Concannon's criticisms aren't true. ''He's just flat wrong about Dave Camp's record," Eastman said. ''Clearly, he doesn't realize why the congressman is re-elected with 60 to 70 percent of the vote."
Camp has attempted to expand health care coverage for children under federal programs, Eastman added.
The 4th Congressional District covers much of Saginaw County and stretches through the northwest lower peninsula to Leelanau County.
Concannon also faulted Camp for past congressional votes that endorsed free trade agreements and approved permanent normal trade relations with China, which has had annual trade surpluses in excess of $200 billion with the United States in recent years.
''My opponent is a free trader, not a fair trader," Concannon said. ''I do believe a lot of people share my view that we need to take a wholesale look at our trade agreements. Systematically, these agreements have to be reworked to be fair."
Camp, a candidate to become the ranking Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees trade policy, has worked for sugar beet growers in mid-Michigan, Eastman said.
''They've found a very good friend in Dave Camp and who's critical when these deals are negotiated,'' he said. ''That's why manufacturers and farmers endorse Camp year after year.''