|United States Senator|
Assumed office |
January 3, 2015
Serving with Debbie Stabenow
|Preceded by||Carl Levin|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Michigan's 14th district
January 3, 2013 – January 3, 2015
|Preceded by||John Conyers|
|Succeeded by||Brenda Lawrence|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Michigan's 9th district
January 3, 2009 – January 3, 2013
|Preceded by||Joe Knollenberg|
|Succeeded by||Sander Levin|
|Commissioner of the Michigan Lottery|
April 9, 2003 – August 7, 2007
|Preceded by||Jim Kipp|
|Succeeded by||Scott Bowen|
|Member of the Michigan Senate|
from the 14th district
January 3, 1995 – December 31, 2002
|Preceded by||Jon Cisky|
|Succeeded by||Gilda Jacobs|
December 1, 1958|
Pontiac, Michigan, U.S.
Alma College (BA)|
University of Detroit Mercy (MBA)
Wayne State University (JD)
Michigan State University (MA)
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Years of service||
United States Navy Reserve
Gary Charles Peters Sr. (born December 1, 1958) is an American politician and businessman serving as the junior United States Senator from Michigan since 2015. A member of the Democratic Party, he was the U.S. Representative for Michigan's 14th congressional district from 2013 until his election to the Senate. The district includes the eastern half of Detroit, as well as the Grosse Pointes, Hamtramck, Southfield and Pontiac. He previously represented Michigan's 9th congressional district from 2009 to 2013. Following the redrawing of congressional district boundaries after the 2010 United States Census, Peters defeated fellow Congressman Hansen Clarke in the Democratic primary and won reelection in the newly redrawn 14th District.
Before his election to Congress, Peters served in the United States Navy Reserve, spent 22 years as an investment advisor, and worked briefly in academia. He was elected to the Rochester Hills City Council in 1991, going on to represent the 14th District in the Michigan Senate from 1995 to 2002. He was the Democratic nominee for Michigan Attorney General in 2002, narrowly losing to Republican Mike Cox. He was then appointed Commissioner of the Michigan Lottery by Governor Jennifer Granholm, serving from 2003 to 2008, when he resigned to run for Congress.
In 2014, Peters was elected to the United States Senate seat previously held by retiring Democratic Senator Carl Levin. He was unopposed in the Democratic primary and defeated Republican Terri Lynn Land in the general election. He was the only non-incumbent Democrat to win a 2014 Senate election and the only Senate freshman from the Democratic Party in the 114th Congress.
- 1 Early life, education, and military service
- 2 Business and academic career
- 3 Michigan Senate
- 4 2002 statewide elections
- 5 U.S. House of Representatives
- 6 Political positions
- 7 U.S. Senate
- 8 Personal life
- 9 Electoral history
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Early life, education, and military service
Peters was born December 1, 1958 in Pontiac, where he grew up. He is the son of Madeleine A. (née Vignier) and Herbert Garrett Peters, a historian and statistician. His mother was a French war bride and his father was American. He graduated from Rochester High school in 1976 and Alma College in 1980. He later received a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Detroit in 1984. Peters also holds a J.D. degree from the Wayne State University Law School and an M.A. degree in philosophy from Michigan State University.
Peters served as a Lieutenant Commander and an Assistant Supply Officer in the United States Navy Reserve. His reserve duty included time in the Persian Gulf supporting Operation Southern Watch, and he served overseas during increased military activity following the September 11, 2001 attacks. During his service he received awards and citations, including the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal. He served on the Rochester Hills City Council from 1991 to 1993.
Business and academic career
From 2007 to 2008, Peters served as the third Griffin Endowed Chair in American Government at Central Michigan University. In that part-time position, he taught one class a semester, plus preparing additional student activities including two policy forums, and developing a journal of Michigan politics and policy, for $65,000 a year. Peters announced his candidacy to run for Congress two months after being hired. Student activists protested Peters’ hiring, saying he could not be objective in the classroom while running for office and that the university job was subsidizing his campaign.
He has been a senior policy and financial analyst for the Michigan Department of Treasury, and served on arbitration panels for the National Association of Securities Dealers, the New York Stock Exchange and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
In November 1994, Peters was elected to the Michigan Senate to represent the Oakland County-based 14th district. He was re-elected in 1998 and served until 2002, when he was compelled to retire owing to the law on term limits. Peters was succeeded in the 14th district by Gilda Jacobs.
The district is one of the most diverse state Senate districts—containing nearly every racial, ethnic and religious group in Michigan. Located in southeastern Oakland County, it includes the cities of Pontiac, Bloomfield Hills, Southfield, and Oak Park.
Peters was chosen by his Democratic colleagues to chair his party's caucus. He was also a member of the Michigan Law Revision Commission and served on the Michigan Sentencing Commission. Both the Michigan State House of Representatives and the Senate passed a bill sponsored by Peters which banned any new wells under the state waters of the Great Lakes except in case of a state energy emergency. The bill passed into law without the signature of Governor John Engler.
He served as the vice chairman of the Senate Finance, Education, Judiciary and Economic Development Committees. He was also a member of the Natural Resources and the Mental Health and Human Services Committee.
2002 statewide elections
In his final year as a member of the Michigan Senate, Peters was a candidate for governor and later for Attorney General. As the Democratic nominee for attorney general, he lost to Republican Mike Cox. Peters came within 5,200 votes of Cox—less than a 0.17 percent margin. Peters decided not to contest the election results despite reported irregularities. Several mistakes were reportedly found during analysis, including a precinct in Dearborn which recorded Peters with 96 votes when he actually had 396. The race was the closest statewide contest in Michigan since the 1950 gubernatorial race.
U.S. House of Representatives
On August 7, 2007, Peters ended months of speculation by formally announcing he would run against eight-term Republican congressman Joe Knollenberg in the 9th District, which included almost all of Oakland County. Peters resigned as state lottery commissioner to devote his full energy to the campaign.
Knollenberg was considered vulnerable due to an increasing Democratic trend in what was once a heavily Republican district. He was nearly defeated in 2006 by Nancy Skinner, a former radio talk-show host who spent virtually no money, leading the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to target him for defeat. Knollenberg's opponents in 2002 and 2004 performed significantly below the Democratic base in the 9th District.
In the 2002 state attorney general race, Peters performed at or above the Democratic base in 72 percent of the 9th District precincts. In his 1998 state Senate campaign, he performed at or above base in 99 percent of the precincts.
Peters won the November 4 election by 33,524 votes, taking 52 percent of the vote to Knollenberg's 43 percent. Barack Obama carried Oakland County by 15 points; roughly two-thirds of Oakland County was in the 9th. He was the fourth person and first Democrat to represent the district since its creation in 1933 (it had previously been the 17th District from 1933 to 1953, the 18th from 1953 to 1973, the 19th from 1973 to 1983, the 18th from 1983 to 1993, the 11th from 1993 to 2003, and became the 9th in 2003).
Due to the state's population decline, as reflected by the 2010 Federal Census, Michigan lost one congressional district. As a result of the subsequent redistricting of house seats, much of Peters' 9th district, including his home in Bloomfield Hills, was merged with the 12th district, represented by fellow Democrat Sander Levin. The new district retained Peters' district number—the 9th—but geographically was more Levin's district.
In September 2011, Peters opted to run in the newly redrawn 14th District. The district had previously been the 13th District, represented by freshman Democrat Hansen Clarke. The redrawn district is based in Detroit, but contains a large chunk of Peters' old State Senate district and portions of his old congressional district. Indeed, Peters had represented most of the Oakland County portion of the district at one time or another. Due to Detroit's dwindling population, it was no longer possible to keep the district exclusively within Wayne County. In the August 2012 Democratic primary, he defeated Clarke (who opted to follow most of his constituents into the reconfigured 14th even though his home had been drawn into the reconfigured 13th—the old 14th) and Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence. The 14th is a heavily Democratic, 58 percent black-majority district, and Peters was overwhelmingly favored in November. As expected, he bested Republican John Hauler in the general election with 82 percent of the vote. He was the first white congressman to represent a significant portion of Detroit since 1993.
Gary Peters was sworn into his first term in January 2009. During his time in office, he's voted for the Recovery Act, also known as the stimulus, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which would have established a national emissions trading plan, but was not passed, the Paycheck Fairness Act, also not passed into law, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and the DREAM Act to provide conditional permanent residency to certain immigrants.
Peters worked with the Obama Administration to obtain debt forgiveness for Chrysler. For his work, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank said Peters was the "single most effective person" in fighting against the forces that wanted to let Detroit go bankrupt. In Congress, Peters opposed a plan to provide disaster relief aid, the funds for which would have come from the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program.
In July 2010, the Michigan Messenger wrote that Peters was "criticizing the leadership of his own party. Peters and three other Democratic legislators...this week formed the Spending Cuts and Deficit Reduction Working Group and proposed a series of bills to cut spending. Peters’ bill makes cuts in the federal energy budget.” “We have been growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of action and talking about specifics and putting those on the table,” Peters said. “We’ve been frustrated with both Democratic leadership and Republicans.”
Peters allied himself with the Occupy Wall Street movement, making an appearance at Occupy Detroit on November 6. Speaking to reporters, he stated: "It's speculation on Wall Street that we're still paying the price for here, particularly in Detroit that almost brought the auto industry to a collapse because of what we saw on Wall Street. So we put in restrictions, or put in regulations necessary to reign that in, and right now in Washington I’m facing a Republican majority that wants to undo that."
He was one of 118 house Democrats who signed a letter to the president urging him to support the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), a multinational organization that provides health services (including birth control) to women, children and families in over 150 countries.
In 2014, Peters voiced opposition to a Michigan law which prohibits insurers from offering abortion coverage as a standard feature in health plans.
As a Representative, Peters sponsored 37 bills, including:
111th Congress (2009-2010)
- H.R. 1500, a bill to expand and make refundable the Child and Dependent Care Credit, introduced March 12, 2009
- H.R. 1527, a bill to impose a 60% income tax on bonuses exceeding $10,000 paid to employees of businesses in which the federal government has at least 79% ownership of, introduced March 16, 2009
- H.R. 1957, a bill to replace the Hope Scholarship and Lifetime Learning tax credits and the tax deduction for tuition expenses with an income tax credit equal to 50% of tuition and related expenses, up to $10,000 per taxable year, introduced April 2, 2009
- H.R. 3246, a bill to create and expand programs for developing and improving vehicle technology, introduced July 17, 2009, reintroduced in the 112th Congress as H.R. 1367 and in the 113th Congress as H.R. 1027
- H.R. 5302, a bill to establish a program to increase access to capital for small businesses, introduced May 13, 2009
- H.R. 5337, a bill to make it a crime to create, sell, distribute, or offer material containing extreme animal cruelty, which the bill defines, introduced May 18, 2010
- H.R. 5780, a bill to eliminate tax credits and deductions for oil and natural gas, introduced July 20, 2010
112th Congress (2011-2012)
- H.R. 3233, a bill to exclude the value of vehicles used for transportation from the resource limit in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, introduced October 14, 2011
- H.R. 6078, a bill to increase government-wide prime contract award goals for small businesses and to increase percentage goals for historically underutilized business zones, and small businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, introduced June 29, 2012
113th Congress (2013-2014)
- H.R. 4057, a bill to allow for the construction of U.S. Customs and Border Protection customs plazas at land ports of entry into the United States, with priority given to those that experience greater traffic, introduced February 11, 2014
- H.R. 4244, a bill to expand the small employer health insurance tax credits from businesses with 25 employees to 50, to increase the maximum allowance of such credit, to eliminate the requirement that employers contribute the same percentage to health insurance as employees, and to eliminate the cap limiting employer contributions to average premiums in the health insurance exchanges, introduced March 13, 2014
- H.R. 4941, a bill to designate up to 20 areas as "Promise Zones" and to have these zones receive priority consideration in federal grant programs and initiatives, introduced June 23, 2014
- H.R. 5045, 5046, 5047, and 5048, a package of veteran bills, introduced July 9, 2014. H.R. 5045 would prohibit the Small Business Administration (SBA) from imposing a guarantee fee on loans from SBA. H.R. 5046 would encourage the development of regulations to protect the financial security of veterans. H.R. 5047 would prohibit the Secretary of Veteran Affairs from altering the accessibility of any veteran's health care based on when he or she last received care from a veteran health care facility. H.R. 5048 would extend, create, and study various programs to reduce the suicide rate among veterans.
- Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
- Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
- Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management
- Joint Economic Committee
Peters was named senior whip for the Democratic caucus in 2013.
Peters ran for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Senator Carl Levin. Peters was endorsed by Levin and Senator Debbie Stabenow, and his entrance largely cleared the field of potential Democratic challengers.
Peters' largest independent supporter was Senate Majority PAC, which spent $3,158,755.00 in ads attacking Peters' opponent in the race. In July 2014, Senator Elizabeth Warren supported Peters at a campaign fundraising event.
While the campaign was considered competitive early on, various missteps by the campaign of his Republican Party opponent Terri Lynn Land and her reluctance to appear in public had benefited the Peters campaign with consistent leads in polls late in the campaign.
- Committee on Armed Services
- Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
- Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure (Ranking Member)
- Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security
- Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet
- Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard
- Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness
- Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
- Joint Economic Committee
- "Peters to face Clarke in new district".
- Rachel Weiner and Aaron Blake (March 8, 2013). "Sen. Carl Levin won't seek reelection in 2014 - The Washington Post". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
- Schouten, Fredreka (November 5, 2014). "Liberal billionaire pledges to stay in politics". USA Today. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
- "Steyer, greens have rough night".
- "Biographical sketch" (PDF). Michigan Manual, 1999-2000. Michigan Legislature. p. 166. Retrieved October 14, 2007.
- Profile, mlive.com; accessed November 6, 2014.
- Herb Peters dies ar age 95, rochestermedia.com; accessed November 6, 2014.
- Madeleine A. Peters' obituary, legacy.com; accessed November 6, 2014.
- "Profile of Gary C. Peters". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. U.S. Congress. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
- Cook, Mattie (July 31, 2014). "Gary Peters challenges Terri Lynn Land". Setinel-Standard. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
- "CONFERENCE COMMITTEE FINISHES WORK ON WALL STREET REFORM". U.S. Representative Gary Peters. June 25, 2010. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
- Schlinker, John. "Gary Peters: A legal education put to many uses". Michigan Bar Journal. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
- Rubin, Jennifer (April 25, 2014). "Could Michigan go red?". Washington Post. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
- Gray, Kathleen (October 31, 2008). "Ads' harshest claims stretch the truth in Knollenberg-Peters race". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
- Schmidt, Peter (July 22, 2010). "At Central Michigan U., Professors Fight To Protect Their Political Ambitions". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
- "It's official: Peters will take on Knollenberg". Detroit Free Press. August 8, 2007. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
- Weeks, George (April 10, 2003). "Mich. Lottery Czar Is Named; Granholm Appoints Gary Peters, Who Ran For Attorney General". The Detroit News.
- "Biographies of Commission Members and Staff". Michigan Law Revision Commission Thirty-first Annual Report, 1996. West Publishing Company. Retrieved October 14, 2007.
- "Oakland Press". Local News September 1, 2006. Archived from the original on March 11, 2007. Retrieved August 9, 2007.
- Enders, David (November 26, 2002). "New York Times". National Briefing Michigan: Candidate Won't Seek Recount. Retrieved August 9, 2007.
- "2002 Attorney General Election Results". U.S. Election Atlas. Retrieved August 9, 2007.
- "The State News". Peters won't request for election recount. Retrieved August 9, 2007.
- "Home- Michigan Lottery". Home- Michigan Lottery.
- "Former Governors - Governor Granholm Appoints Scott Bowen State Lottery Commissioner". www.michigan.gov.
- "Governor Appoints Gary Peters as New State Lottery Commissioner". waddell.casinocitytimes.com.
- "Swing State Project". 9th District. Retrieved August 9, 2007.
- Gray, Kathleen. "Democratic wave helps Peters win in 9th District". Detroit Free Press.
- State of Michigan. "9th District Representative in Congress 2 Year Term (1) Position Files In OAKLAND County". State of Michigan. Archived from the original on January 29, 2014.
- Williams, AJ (April 10, 2014). "Peters On Why NMTC Is Plus For Detroit". Michigan Chronicle. Retrieved October 14, 2014.
- "Supreme Court Decision On Obamacare Inspires Reactions From Michigan Politicians". Huffington Post. June 28, 2012. Retrieved October 14, 2014.
- "Truth Squad: Foul on ad accusing Gary Peters of supporting carbon tax". MLive. June 10, 2014. Retrieved October 14, 2014.
- Reinhard, Beth (April 12, 2014). "Criticized by Obama, Senate Candidate Defends Fair-Pay Stance". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 14, 2014.
- Helderop, Brandon (May 20, 2014). "Gary Peters inconsistent on equal pay". Oakland Press. Retrieved October 14, 2014.
- Heinlein, Gary (October 9, 2014). "Peters tries to paint moderate image". Detroit News. Retrieved October 14, 2014.
- "Debtholders vs. U.S. Over Chrysler Deal". New York Times. April 22, 2009.
- "Peters, principally". Metro Times.
- Kingkade, Tyler (September 15, 2011). "House Republicans Seek Auto Industry Cuts To Cover For Disaster Relief Funds". Huffington Post.
- "Peters criticizes Dem. leadership on spending". The Michigan Messenger. The American Independent News Network. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- Aujla, Simmi. "Four House Democrats revolt". Politico. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- Fisher, Beth (November 6, 2011). "Occupy Detroit Gets Union Support". CBS Detroit. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
- "Over 100 Democrats Join Reps. Crowley, Maloney, Lowey and Berman in Call for Continued Support of UNFPA". Joseph Crowley. November 3, 2011. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
- Woods, Ashley. "Michigan's 'Rape Insurance' Abortion Rider Law Goes Into Effect Today". www.huffingtonpost.com.
- "Representative Peters's Legislation". Library of Congress. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
- Spangler, Todd (January 9, 2013). "Gary Peters nabs senior whip position in Congress". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
- Lawler, Emily. "Gary Peters, Mark Totten talk guns and world peace at MLive Ballot Bash in Royal Oak". MLive.com. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
- "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
- Facher, Lev. "U.S. Sen. Gary Peters participates in Senate filibuster over gun control". Michigan Radio. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
- Fritz Klug. "Democrat Gary Peters says he wants to continue Carl Levin's legacy in US Senate". MLive. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
- Klug, Fritz (May 23, 2013). "U.S. Senators Carl Levin, Debbie Stabenow endorse Gary Peters in 2014 U.S. Senate election". MLive. Retrieved April 9, 2014.
- "Terri Lynn Land Targeted in Super PAC Ad in Michigan". Roll Call. July 12, 2014.
- "Senate Majority PAC up in Ark., Mich".
- LeBlanc, Steve (July 13, 2014). "Elizabeth Warren Hits The Campaign Trail For Fellow Democrats". Huffington Post. Retrieved October 14, 2014.
- News, A. B. C. (October 17, 2014). "Meet the Republican Even the GOP Hates". ABC News.
- "Senate Update: The Swing States That Never Swung". October 28, 2014.
- "Senate Races 2014: Why Michigan Never Became Iowa". Roll Call. October 22, 2014.
- "Members". Congressional NextGen 9-1-1 Caucus. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
- "Home - United States Committee on Armed Services". www.armed-services.senate.gov.
- "Subcommittees - United States Committee on Armed Services". www.armed-services.senate.gov.
- "U.S. Senate Committee On Commerce, Science, & Transportation - Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security". U.S. Senate Committee On Commerce, Science, & Transportation. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
- "Gary Peters: Committee Assignments".
- "The Michigan Bar Journal". Gary Peters: A legal education put to many uses. Retrieved August 9, 2007.
- "Sen. Gary Peters: Campaign Finance/Money - Other Data - Senator 2016 | OpenSecrets". www.opensecrets.org. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
- "Gary Peters (D-Mich), 2014 | OpenSecrets". www.opensecrets.org. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
- "US Senate candidate Gary Peters built bridges in military, and wants to do same in upper chamber".
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gary Peters.|
- U.S. Senator Gary Peters official U.S. Senate site
- Gary Peters for U.S. Senate
- Gary Peters at Curlie (based on DMOZ)
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Campaign finances at National Institute on Money in State Politics
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 9th congressional district
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 14th congressional district
|Party political offices|
| Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Michigan
| U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Michigan
Served alongside: Debbie Stabenow
|Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
Shelley Moore Capito
| United States Senators by seniority