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Wednesday, August 1,2012

Rogers challenged by two in GOP primary

by Kyle Melinn
U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Brighton, is facing more primary opposition in 2012 than in all of his prior congressional runs combined. The six-term congressman’s only other primary opponent was a Patrick Flynn, whom Rogers obliterated 85 to 15 percent in ’06.

This go around, two Republican types want a piece of Rogers: Brian Hetrick and Vernon Molnar. 

Hetrick, 38, of Brighton, is a Lansing Grand River assembly plant employee who had worked at the Saturn plant in Spring Hill, Tenn. A Michigander since 2000, Hetrick says he was moved to run because of Congress’ inability to get a handle on the country’s exploding debt crisis.

Hetrick received his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Dayton and his master’s at Purdue through GM’s Technical Education Program.

Molenar, 57 of Holly is of the GOP’s Ron Paul wing, saying the federal government’s focus should be on domestic issues as opposed to international ones. The architect and designer attended Detroit Public Schools and pursued an engineering degree at Oakland Community College and the Detroit Institute of Technology.

He’s volunteered to plant trees in his community and build shelters in the Brazilian Amazon.

Rogers, 49, is the new chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, giving him a substantial voice in Washington on how the country responds to al Qaida, the Taliban in Afganistan and a nuclear Iran. He is a former FBI agent who authored the country’s biodefense law that came in response to the Anthrax scare years ago. He co-founded EBI Builders, a family-owned construction business in Brighton.

The Albion College graduate served from 1995-2000 in the state Senate before winning a razor sharp race for Congress in 2000 against then state Sen. Dianne Byrum.

The winner of the primary will face Democrat Lance Enderle in the General Election.

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