Supercommittee member Fred Upton gets progressive challenger
Iraq War veteran and progressive activist John Waltz, a Democrat, has moved back home to Michigan to run against Republican Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) for the Congressional seat in District 6.
Waltz recently stepped down from his role as director for Kentucky-based Heartland Revolution, an organization that has rallied against Michigan’s Emergency Manager law in Benton Harbor. Waltz was among the first to promote the recall of State Rep. Al Pscholka (R-Stevensville), the House sponsor of the Emergency Manager bill.
“After all I have seen in Michigan this year I knew I had to come back and get our beloved state back on track,” Waltz said.
Eclectablog has this bio of Waltz:
John was born and raised in a working family in his hometown of Kalamazoo, Michigan. His dad worked for General Motors for over 30 years and his mom was a homemaker. The youngest of seven children, John grew up believing that through hard work, a person could provide for his or her family, even when times were tough.
John enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the age of 24 and was assigned to an aircraft carrier, the USS George Washington. His first day at sea was September 10, 2001, one day before the terrorist attacks. John’s group was immediately sent to New York to safeguard the city and the harbor.
After the attacks, John served in Afghanistan and later in Iraq. He went back to Iraq as a civilian vocational instructor teaching Iraqis to be electricians, and also worked to raise funds to build hospitals in Iraq. John realized success in the Middle East is about more than just military strength; it requires improving the daily lives of Afghans and Iraqis, and giving them the economic freedom to no longer be dependent on warlords.
During his military service, John was ordered to take an anthrax vaccine that had not been approved by the FDA. When he came home from the Middle East, John suffered severe health problems. His involvement in politics began after fighting for benefits from the Veteran’s Administration. Going on to advocate for veterans on Capitol Hill, John realized just how out of touch politicians had become, and decided to run for Congress.
John is married to Janie Waltz and has four young daughters. John worked as the Executive Director of Heartland Revolution and served as the Executive Director for Severus Worldwide, which focuses on rebuilding hospitals in conflict zones, particularly in Iraq. He also served as the Executive Vice President for the Iraq War Veterans Organization, and as the Kentucky Director for the Order of the Silver Rose, which advocates for Vietnam Veterans injured by exposure to Agent Orange.
This will be the second Congressional campaign for Waltz — last year he made an unsuccessful ran at unseating Republican Geoff Davis in Kentucky’s 4th District.