A third generation Yooper, Dana has spent his life surrounded by the values and culture of the 1st District. He grew up in Negaunee, a small mining town outside of Marquette, the only son with four sisters.
Following high school he enrolled at Northern Michigan University. It was at this point in his life that Dana became a father. To help take care of his family while going to school he worked as a union laborer. After receiving his bachelor's in Economics there was a long search for work, but to continue living in the area he continued working in the construction field, eventually moving into carpentry and joining the carpenters union.
Dana eventually continued his studies, going back to NMU where he received his Master's in Public Administration. The real education, though, was living through the struggles of being a working-class father doing his best to help raise his family in the place he calls home.
Getting into politics was not something Dana thought of at a young age. It wasn't until he began his MPA that the thought entered his mind.
"Being a Representative is about knowing your constituents. It’s about understanding what they go through on a daily basis. It’s about knowing their struggles, knowing what’s important to them and knowing the challenges they face. If you don’t know who you represent, how can you represent them? I know the people of the 1st District. I am one of them, and have been my whole life."
"Marquette County has been my home most of my life. My parents grew up here as did my grandparents, and it is where my wife, Kristi, and I raise our kids right now. Having grown up in Negaunee to a working-class family, I am versed in the life and values of the people of Northern Michigan and the U.P."
"This is where I learned what is important to me. It’s where I learned my work ethic, my love of nature, and my respect and appreciation for a simple life."
"Life in a small mid-western town in the UP of Michigan can be tough, but this has always been and always will be my home.
Having a family to take care of and bills to pay, faced with a poor job market and not wanting to move, I ended up staying in the construction field after my education. It was a tough decision, but one I'm glad I made. Without the work I had as a union laborer and carpenter I would have struggled far worse than I already did. Realistically, I would have had to move my family from the place I love, my home.
My struggles have made me who I am today. They have taught me to stay positive no matter what. I wouldn’t change a thing about my past. The challenges I’ve faced have made me stronger, smarter, and more in tune with those I want to represent.
I know all about the struggles of being a young parent trying to work your way through school. I am all too familiar with struggling to make ends meet while trying desperately to get ahead. I have held tight on the bumpy road of life through the highs and lows. My story is the story of so many living in the 1st District."