Rep. Mike Rogers (R)
Elected: 2000, 5th term.
Born: June 2, 1963, Livingston Cnty. .
Education: Adrian Col., B.A. 1985.
Family: Divorced; 2 children.
Military career: Army, 1985-88.
Elected office: MI Senate, 1995-2000, Maj. floor ldr., 1999-2000.
Professional Career: Co-founder, E.B.I. Builders, 1985; FBI spec. agent, 1988-94.
The congressman from the 8th District is Mike Rogers, a Republican first elected in 2000. (He is one of two Republican Mike Rogers in the House; the other one is from Alabama.) He grew up in Brighton, in Livingston County, and graduated from Adrian College in southeastern Michigan. He was commissioned by the ROTC as commander of an Army rapid-deployment unit. He graduated from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s academy and focused on public corruption cases as an FBI special agent in Chicago for six years. In 1994, he returned to Michigan, started a home-construction business and was elected to the state Senate, where in 1999 he became majority floor leader. In 2000, when Democrat Debbie Stabenow gave up the 8th District seat to run successfully for the Senate, Rogers and Democrat Dianne Byrum, a fellow state senator, both ran for the seat. Each candidate raised about $2 million, and it turned out to be the closest race in the country that year. It took six weeks to count the final tally, and Rogers won by 111 votes.
|Mike Rogers (R)||204,408||(57%)||($1,565,888)|
|Robert Alexander (D)||145,491||(40%)||($214,282)|
|Mike Rogers (R)||Unopposed|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (55%), 2004 (61%), 2002 (68%), 2000 (49%)
Rogers has described his political philosophy as a version of “compassionate conservatism,” with a bit more conservatism on cultural issues than on the economy. With his military, law enforcement and legislative backgrounds, Rogers made an impression on colleagues with his sound advice in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. He provided expertise on the high-technology tools used to track terrorists and on the use of wiretaps, and he urged that airport screeners have federal supervision.
He has been an activist member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Citing the fact that only a few hundred gas stations nationwide have the requisite equipment, he won bipartisan House approval in 2006 of a bill to help independent businesses purchase equipment for ethanol gas pumps. The House also passed his bill to eliminate state food-safety warnings that are stronger than comparable federal warnings. He sponsored a bill to give Michigan more authority to limit its flow of trash from other states and Canada. “We love our Canadian neighbors. We love their trade. But you don’t throw your trash in your neighbor’s yard,” he said when the House passed the bill in April 2007.
His energetic legislating has made Rogers popular among House Republicans, though Rep. Thaddeus McCotter in the adjacent 11th District was first to make it into the leadership, as chairman of the Republican Policy Committee. With his significant fundraising skills, Rogers has been tapped by Republican leaders for prime assignments in contested races. He positioned himself to run for House Republican whip in 2006, but Missouri’s Roy Blunt did not relinquish the post. He showed his mettle in May 2007 when he stood up to a threat by the powerful Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat and former Marine. On the floor, Rogers challenged a $23-million earmark for Murtha’s congressional district, but failed. Rogers maintains that Murtha came over to him afterward and said, loudly: “I hope you don’t have any earmarks in the defense appropriations bill, because they are gone, and you will not get any earmarks now and forever.” Rogers replied (according to Rogers): “Is that supposed to make me afraid of you?” Republicans tried to officially reprimand Murtha, and although that effort was tabled, Murtha apologized. In 2008, Rogers also battled John Dingell, the most powerful member of the Michigan delegation, to stop a proposed casino in Port Huron near the Canadian border. Dingell favored settling a land claim by an Indian tribe that could allow it to operate a casino far from its reservation, but Rogers argued that the move would violate a 2004 statewide referendum to restrict expansions of casino gambling.
At home, Rogers has won re-election without major problems, but not by the huge margins that many incumbents enjoy. In 2006, he won 55%-43% against Royal Oak Deputy City Attorney Jim Marcinkowski, a former CIA agent. In the difficult climate for Republicans in 2008, Rogers was re-elected with 57% of the vote against East Lansing progressive activist Bob Alexander. Rogers lost Lansing’s Ingham County by 11,500 votes, but he won Republican Livingston County by 37,757. Political insiders in Michigan have speculated that he might make a strong statewide candidate, though the recent climate has not been hospitable for Republicans.