Why I Decided to Challenge Bart Stupak in the Democratic Primary

05/31/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

I believe passionately that Americans deserve the opportunity to have affordable, accessible healthcare, and until recently, I believed that Congressman Bart Stupak represented my beliefs in Washington. But when Mr. Stupak threatened to block reform unless the amendment bearing 'his name' was included in the bill, I was furious. He crossed the line. He broke his word to his constituents that he would not block healthcare reform over this issue. He lost his district's trust, and he lost my trust.

His argument that the Stupak Amendment was necessary to prohibit federal funding for abortion is misleading. The Senate bill already included that provision. Mr. Stupak risked derailing the core vision of the Democratic Party, he let down his constituents in the 1st Congressional District, and he no longer deserves to be our Representative. Like so many others, I waited for someone to challenge him. But when no one did, I decided it was time to stand up, and I announced my candidacy.

I have been overwhelmed and humbled by the enthusiasm, support and outreach for my campaign, both nationally and locally. People from all over this district are calling daily, offering to contribute their valuable time and to do anything that they can to help. Political pundits like to say that someone from the lower peninsula cannot win in Michigan's first district. I don't believe that. I have heard from citizens all the way from Keweenaw County in the northwest of our district to Bay County in the southeast. We are all Michiganders and our commonalties are far more important than our differences.

My campaign is about getting past the kind of political obstruction and grandstanding that marred the healthcare debate. I look forward to working in Congress to represent the traditional Democratic values of the First District - affordable, accessible healthcare for all Americans, healthcare that allows women the opportunity to make responsible life decisions for themselves and their families, protecting our Great Lakes and other precious natural resources, and fighting to put people in our district, so hard hit by this recession, back to work.

I am here to give the people of the Michigan's First District a choice in the August 3rd primary. I ask for your support as we show Mr. Stupak that he cannot take Democratic voters for granted. Thank you.