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PRIMARY ELECTION: U.S. Senate, House races ramp up before Aug. 7 primary election


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Republicans John James and Sandy Pensler are vying to become the candidate to challenge Democrat U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

Born in Gladwin and raised in Clare, Stabenow earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Michigan State University. Elected to represent Michigan's 8th Congressional District in 1996,  she made history in 2000 when she became the first woman elected to represent Michigan in the U.S. Senate. 

Challenger for the Republican nomination John James is a West Point graduate who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. In that time, he earned a Combat Action Badge and two Air Medals. 

James earned a Bachelor of Science degree from West Point, a master’s degree in supply chain management and information systems from Penn State University and a master’s of business administration from the University of Michigan. He is president of his family business, James Group International.

James’ most notable endorsements include Kid Rock, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, National Security Advisor John Bolton and Right to Life.

If elected, he promises to prioritize national security, economic opportunity, Trump’s agenda and pro-life policies. 

“Actions speak louder than words and from tax relief for working families to the elimination of overbearing government regulations,” his website says. “President Trump is keeping his promises to the American people.”

For more information about James visit his website


Businessman Sandy Pensler is taking on James for the nomination. Pensler has a Bachelor of Arts degree in chemical engineering and economics as well as a master’s degree in economics from Yale University. Pensler also has a Juris Doctorate from Harvard University. 

Pensler founded Pensler Capital Corp., a company that offers financial and management support in an array of industries. He also has worked as a private investor and financial advisor for companies such as Chrysler, Sprint and Time Warner.  Pensler has experience working as a clerk at the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals for Judge Patrick Higginbotham.

His major endorsements include former State Rep. Jon Bumstead and former member of the Republican National Committee Chuck Yob.

Pensler says he will put Michigan first, renegotiate unfair trade deals, emphasize the benefits of choice and competition in our schools and promote pro-life policy. 

"The more I learned about @POTUS, the more I knew that his America First agenda would help us right here in Michigan. @POTUS had my vote in the primary, and he has my support today.”  Pensler tweeted.

For more information about Pensler visit his website.

U.S. House of Representatives   

Democrats Jerry Hillard and Zigmond Kozicki are each looking to run against Republican Congressman John Moolenaar.

Jerry Hillard has a Bachelor of Science degree in business education, physical education and biology from Central Michigan University. He also has a Master of Arts in sports administration from Central Michigan University. His master’s in business administration if from University of Michigan. 

Hillard has been a public school teacher in Whittemore-Prescott, Flint and Centreville, Virginia. He has also worked at Mid-Michigan Community College and Lansing Community College teaching economics and business.

Hillard’s endorsements include the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations and the American Federation of Teachers.

He hopes to promote Medicare for all and other progressive ideas.

“I am running for this office to be a public servant, not for my own personal gain. I picked the 4th Congressional District of Michigan because we had no one to run last cycle,” he said.

“My main goal with the help of labor unions and our Democratic parties, as 4th District Rep. is to rebuild the middle class through pro middle class policy legislation in economics, healthcare and labor law.”

For more information about Hillard visit his website.


Kozicki is another Democrat hoping to face Moolenaar in the general election. 

He has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in psychology and a Doctor of Health Administration and master’s in health care administration. 

Kozicki works as an associate professor of health services administration at the University of Detroit Mercy. He is also a psychotherapist at MidMichigan Neuropsychology Medical Arts One. 

He has served on a school board as a city commissioner and has worked as a community organizer. More recently, Kozicki has been working with leaders in Saginaw to reduce the city’s crimes rate.

His top priorities include Medicare for all, promoting civil rights and preventing gerrymandering.

“Serving the public is something I have done all of my adult life. Please let me serve you in the US Congress. We need to look out for each other,” his website says. 

For more information about Kozicki visit his website

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