01-09-2019 Letters and Commentary

Tensions with Iran

This past week, President Trump made the decision to take out Qassem Soleimani, a terrorist who was responsible for hundreds of American deaths over the past several years. Afterwards, I issued a statement expressing my support for the President’s actions, and I called for a briefing before Congress so we could learn more moving forward.

This is a complex situation. But we should be clear about something. Soleimani has been recognized as a leader of terrorism for a generation. We had an opportunity to remove him from the battlefield, and that’s what the President did.

Furthermore, after the September 11, 2001 attacks, I made a promise to never be in a position to say ‘I’m sorry’ for something we did not do. It became known that Soleimani was planning an imminent attack, so the President did what he needed to do to defend American interests.

As I said in my statement, Iran has been poking the bear, and the United States responded to their provocations.

As we move forward, discussions about Iran should be substantive, not political. This is a serious situation, there is no question about that. And I know this issue is concerning to many of you and your families, and I encourage you to share your thoughts and opinions with my team and me.

To learn more about important legislative issues, follow me on Twitter at @RepFredUpton or visit my website: upton.house.gov. You can also call my offices in Kalamazoo (269-385-0039), St. Joseph/ Benton Harbor (269-982-1986), or Washington, D.C. (202-225-3761).

January is Mentoring Month

Some of our state’s and country’s most successful people were helped in getting to where they are because of a mentor. Mentoring is an excellent opportunity to help prepare younger generations to reach their full potential by building relationships and through sharing knowledge, skills and values.

Each January we celebrate mentoring and the positive impact it has on our society during National Mentoring Month, a campaign to promote youth mentoring throughout the nation.

According to the National Mentoring Partnership organization, mentoring benefits our young people, and especially those who may be considered at-risk, because it virtually guarantees that they have someone who cares about them, who makes them feel valued and who is interested in their success.

The National Mentoring Partnership cites research that indicates mentoring relationships have powerful positive effects on our young people in a variety of personal, academic, and professional situations. For example, the organization says at-risk youth who have a mentor are 55% more likely to enroll in college, 78% more likely to volunteer regularly, 90% are interested in becoming a mentor and 130% more likely to hold leadership positions.

There is no doubt that mentoring makes our state a better place and provides lasting positive effects on both mentees and mentors alike. If you are among those looking for ways to help others, especially our youth, I encourage you to consider becoming a mentor. Mentor Michigan, which is a service through the Michigan Community Service Commission, partners with hundreds of mentoring organizations throughout our state and helps match caring adults with young people in need of role models.

If you are interested or would like more information, please visit Michigan.gov/MentorMichigan. You can also find more information on mentoring at Mentoring.org.