WNDU interviews Rep. Fred Upton on his retirement, Republican Party

Published: Apr. 8, 2022 at 6:01 PM EDT
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(WNDU) - One of the longest serving Republicans in the House of Representatives is retiring.

After 36 years representing St. Joseph, Michigan, Congressman Fred Upton is ready for a new chapter.

WNDU’s Lauren Moss had the opportunity to speak with Michigan Congressman Fred Upton on Friday, and talked about everything from his personal life, to the future of the Republican Party.

“Congratulations on your retirement! It’s been a couple of days now but it was very emotional for you to make that announcement. How are you feeling?” Lauren asked.

“Well you know, you just think about all the things you did,” Upton replied. “I mean the case work we’ve done, and the wonderful staff. So grateful for the people who supported me and helped me in and even those who didn’t for 25-0 in elections. It’s been a great journey and I would like to think we made a difference and helped a lot of folks. As people know I work across party lines, that is the only way you get things done.”

In fact, Upton was one of the few Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump, but Upton says that did not play a factor his retirement.

“I was one of the 10 and all of us believe it was the right vote and a vote of conscious,” Upton explained, “He still to this day is saying the election was stolen. Well, it was a Republican state senate formal investigation into the election and they found nothing that would have overturned the margin. He was in Michigan last week saying twice as many people voted in Michigan than who live there. But that’s a bunch of BS. It’s like come on, it’s over, let’s look to the future. Of, course we want every vote to count but it’s time to stop being a really sore loser.”

Instead, he says the final straw was the newly formed 4th Congressional District.

“I was born in St. Joe, that’s where my family is. I’m not moving this is the best spot ever, so someone else made that determination. So I am ready for the next chapter,” Upton said.

But before moving on we have to take it back.

“We have some fun video for you from 1987... you were 33 being sworn into Congress, take us back to that day,” Lauren said.

“I was happily married, we came off a fantastic win. I didn’t have any white hair. I had to wear a tie because I was trying to look older, wiser. Life changes fast and it seems like yesterday - the day we won our primary but certainly all the times I’ve been sworn in,” Upton said.

“My very first story when I came to this market three years ago was with you reading to school kids,” Lauren said.

“I was able to visit a classroom every week. They had great questions. Even though they can’t vote... they are the future,” Upton said.

“What is your message to Americans who might be worried about the Republican Party?” Lauren questioned.

“Bipartisanship is nasty...I’ve never seen it like this before and for Republicans, we need to look to the future and not the past. The election wasn’t stolen - we need to move forward. We need to talk about what we need to do not as a party but as a country,” Fred replied.

Of course, some local issues he’s still passionate about - the removal of lead water pipes in Benton Harbor, and the completion of U.S. 31 this summer.

Upton said he’s looking forward to spending more time with his wife, children, and three grandchildren.

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