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Rep. Fred Upton will not seek reelection

Russ McNamara

The Southwest Michigan Republican, who was known for his bipartisanship, is the fourth Republican who voted to impeach Trump to not seek reelection.

A giant of Michigan politics is calling it quits. Rep. Fred Upton has represented the 4th district since 1987.

The Southwest Michigan Republican — known for his bipartisanship — announced his retirement in an emotional speech on the House floor Tuesday. Upton (R-St. Joseph) says lawmakers need to work with each other.

“I work daily on all things Michigan particularly with Debbie Dingell and we’ve been hitting the road to push for civility. Hopefully civility and bipartisanship versus discord can rule, not rue the day,” he says.

It was that attitude that allowed him to accomplish so much, says Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn).

“Fred knew well that if we are going to deliver real solutions for the American people, we need to come together and listen to all perspectives, no matter how complicated the issue might be,” Dingell says. “And it is because of that thinking he was able to get so much done in Congress.”

While they always didn’t agree they were able to work together “without vitriolic rhetoric and mean-spirited language,” she says. “It is his civility that I and Congress will miss the most. Fred really believed that he was an American first. That reaching across the aisle was important, that working together is how we get things done for the American people.

Together they passed legislation to protect the Great Lakes for future generations and lower the cost of health care for all Americans, Dingell says. They were also part of the bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill. Upton received threatening phone calls after his vote.

Upton recounted highlights of his career, including the 21st Century Cures, which he said was “the most important piece of legislation passed in that Congress. It laid the foundation for Operation Warp Speed and faster drug approvals, including the first [COVID-19] vaccine that Pfizer produced in Kalamazoo.”

As representative, he says his driving mission was jobs and the economy, whether it was working with an energy plant pursuing renewable resources or changing tax laws to keep jobs inn America. He was also the Republican lead with the late Rep. John Dingell on the auto rescue plan.

In the newly drawn 4th district, Upton was facing a clash with Trump-supported Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Holland Township). Upton had been a target of many conservatives after he voted to impeach President Trump in 2021.

Trump recently endorsed Huizenga after earlier supporting another Republican challenger before the new district was drawn.

Upton, 68, is the fourth Republican who backed impeachment to not seek reelection, joining Reps. John Katko of New York, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.