Congress candidate offers conservative credentials

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP – One of the Republican candidates looking to fill outgoing U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek’s seat next year visited the Copper Country Saturday.

Jason Allen of Traverse City announced his candidacy for Michigan’s 1st Congressional District seat in January. He previously served in the state Senate. Most recently, he served as senior policy advisor for the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency before leaving the post for his congressional campaign.

“I want to make sure the next generation has the opportunity to grow and prosper like I did,” he said after a talk to local Republicans in Franklin Township Saturday.

His top priority will be simplifying the tax code, which Allen said will allow entrepreneurs to create jobs.

“We don’t know what the next generation of jobs are going to be like, because of the amount of challenges and changes that are going on,” he said.

Allen is running in the Republican primary against state Sen. Tom Casperson of Escanaba. Asked why primary voters should pick him over Casperson, Allen described himself as “a conservative who believes that we should not raise taxes or increase the regulatory environment.”

Casperson has come under fire from some members of his party for supporting a $1.2-billion road funding plan, which includes tax increases on gas and diesel.

If he advances, Allen said, voters should consider him over the Democratic nominee due to his experience as a small business owner and beliefs in protecting hunting and fishing rights and the “traditional family.” Allen said he opposes same-sex marriage, legalized last year, saying he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman.

Saturday’s visit, which also included stops in L’Anse and Houghton, is part of Allen’s effort to visit every county in the 1st Congressional District.

“It’s been very amazing to see people and talk about the concerns they have about what’s happening in Washington – national defense, where we are with the budget, getting the regulatory environment to create an opportunity for jobs to grow in our state,” he said.