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September 11, 2008 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2008-09-11

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Knollenberg faces challenge from Peters and Kevorkian for key congressional seat.

Robert Sklar



he Ninth Congressional District
boasts one of the hottest federal
races in the nation. Republican
incumbent Joe Knollenberg, who took office
in 1993, is trying to fend off Democratic
contender Gary Peters, a former state sena-
tor and former state lottery commissioner.
Three other candidates add to the intrigue
of the race for the two-year term as a U.S.
representative from southeast Michigan.
The wide-ranging district is one of
Michigan's most important and influential,
given its Oakland County makeup:
• Cities of Auburn Hills, Berkley,
Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Clawson,
Farmington Hills, Farmington, Keego
Harbor, Lake Angelus, Orchard Lake Village,


Pontiac, Rochester Hills, Rochester, Royal
Oak, Sylvan Lake and Troy.
•Townships of Bloomfield, Oakland,
Orion, Royal Oak and West Bloomfield.
The annual pay is $169,300.
Over the years, thanks to demographic
shifts in southeast Michigan, the district
has turned more Democratic than when
Knollenberg took office, which was the
same time as President Bill Clinton.
Knollenberg's margins of victory have
tightened in recent years. Two years ago,
Democratic challenger Nancy Skinner, 43,
of Royal Oak, a former radio talk show
host and current business consultant and
political commentator, narrowly lost to
Knollenberg 51-47 percent, despite being
outspent 7-to-1.
Today, the seventh anniversary of the
9-11 attacks, the IN presents our question-

naire responses from the two major party
candidates, Knollenberg and Peters, both
of Bloomfield Hills, as well as from the
well-known Independent candidate, Jack
Kevorkian, a retired pathologist from Royal
Other hopefuls in the race are Libertarian
Party candidate Adam Goodman of Royal
Oak and Green Party standard bearer
Douglas Campbell of Ferndale.
Polling suggests that Democrats are on
their way to maintaining or even gaining
seats in the U.S. House of Representatives,
says Robert Cohen, executive director of
the Jewish Community Relations Council
of Metropolitan Detroit. The Bloomfield
Township-based JCRC tracks political and
election trends as part of its work respon-
sibilities as the Detroit Jewish community's
public affairs voice.

"Voters in the ninth district," he said,
"will have to decide if that happens, would
they be better served by a minority party
congressman with a great deal of seniority
on the Transportation, Housing and Urban
Development, Appropriations and Foreign
Relations committees, by a freshman mem-
ber of the majority party or by a member
of a minor party"
The issues that Jewish voters will be
especially concerned about, he added, also
are of concern to non-Jews. "For example,
he said, "Which candidate would be more
supportive of Israel or support stronger
sanctions against Iran? Which would lead
on addressing poverty and economic
distress? Which would be more in line with
where the voters stand on such issues as
women's rights, immigration, and the sepa-
ration of church and state?" ❑

Age: 74
Birth City: Mattoon, III.
City of Residence: Bloomfield Hills
Years Lived in District: Oakland County
resident, 40 years; Bloomfield Hills, 30
Family: wife, Sandie; two sons

Some Accomplishments: Helped deliver
$1.95 million since 2003 to Michigan
Jewish Institute, $575,000 since 2005
to Friendship Circle, West Bloomfield,
and $500,000 since 2008 to Holocaust
Memorial Center, Farmington Hills. As a
senior member of the Foreign Operations
Subcommittee, delivered $1 billion-plus for
refugee resettlement in Israel from the
former Soviet states and other countries,
including Ethiopia. Cosponsor of bills that
would strengthen sanctions against Syria
(HR2332) and that would authorize publica-
tion of the Federal Registrar of all persons
or companies that have investments in
Iran's energy sector (HR 2347). In response
to Jimmy Carter's meeting with Hamas'
leader, introduced a bill to prohibit U.S.
taxes from going to the Carter Center in
Georgia (HR5816). In 2006, organized and

led a congressional letter to the president
ensuring no direct aid to Hamas in light of
its Palestinian Authority parliamentary vic-
tory; in July, spearheaded a letter, signed
by 20 members of Congress, to Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice asking her to
clarify statement she made in Lebanon
regarding the Shebaa Farms region. He
believes the Shebaa Farms conflict should
be worked out between Israel and Syria.

Business and Professional Career: Member
of Congress since 1993; former owner of
Knollenberg Insurance Agency, Troy; U.S.

Affiliations: Chairman, House Task Force
on a Secure Israel; former homeowners'
association president; former parent-teach-
er association member; former parish coun-
cil president; former member, Charter Life
Underwriters Association; former member,
Troy Chamber of Commerce.

Religious Affiliation: Roman Catholic; St.
Owen's Parish Bloomfield Hills

Campaign Web Site:

Campaign Office: 31000 Telegraph Road,
Suite 110. Bingham Farms 48025; (248)

Hot Ninth! on page A14

September 11 * 2008


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