By Marisa Schultz
U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek took the podium at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday to roaring cheers and a standing ovation -- from the Michigan delegates.
Benishek is the state's only scheduled speaker at the convention, a nod to the tight re-election bid he's in for the 1st Congressional District. The midday speech occurred outside prime time and when some delegates from other states were absent or milling about.
Speaking for two minutes, Benishek got plenty of encouragement from the front-row Michigan delegation that chanted and hooted for Michigan mentions. ("I grew up in a little town called Iron River.")
Benishek said the American dream is being threatened with challenges of unemployment and the nearly $16 trillion debt.
"But I believe we can fix these problems by staying true to what has always made this country great: Individual liberty, free enterprise and limited government," Benishek said.
That ignited Michigan delegate cheers of "Go, Dan, go!"
"People from northern Michigan are tough," Benishek said. "We don't give up when times are hard. Like you, we will keep working to protect the American dream, and to ensure our best days are yet to come."
Hank Choate, chairman of the Jackson County GOP and a delegate from the 7th Congressional District, helped lead the chants.
He said it's important to support Benishek because his expertise as a doctor is needed when Republicans are successful at repealing Obamacare and designing its replacement.
"I lost my voice for it," Choate said.
"I'm the one where the people behind me said: 'OK, sit down, you've had enough.'"
He was referring to delegates from the Northern Mariana Islands.