NEGAUNEE, Mich. -- 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, Dana became a father to his oldest son, he enrolled at Northern Michigan University and started work as a union laborer at his dad's construction company in Marquette. After receiving his bachelor's in Economics there was a long search for work related to his field, but couldn't find a good-paying job in the area and continued working in the construction field. In 2009, his dad's construction company closed its doors due to the recession and he was once again in search of work.
Over the next few years Dana began working as a carpenter and decided to continue 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. After receiving his MPA, he continued work as a carpenter, eventually joining the Carpenters Union Local 1510 before deciding to help out his family's small business in Ishpeming.
"Being a Representative is about knowing your constituents. It’s about understanding what they go through on a daily basis,” said Ferguson. “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 home to Dana most his life. His parents grew up here as did his grandparents, and it’s where he and his wife, Kristi, raise their children now. Having grown up in Negaunee to a working family, he is versed in the life and values of the people of Northern Michigan and the U.P. This is where Dana learned what's important to him. It’s where he learned his work ethic, his love of nature, and his respect and appreciation for a simple life.
Life in a small mining town in the UP can be tough, but this has always been and always will be Dana’s home. Having a family to take care of and bills to pay, faced with a poor job market and not wanting to move, he ended up staying in the construction field after his education.
“It was a tough decision, but one I'm glad I made,” said Ferguson. “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 made me stronger, smarter, and more in tune with those I seek to represent.”
"Life in a small mining town in the UP can be tough, but this has always been and always will be my home," said Ferguson. "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 made me stronger, smarter, and more in tune with those I seek 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."
It is time we have a representative who understands the average person here in the district.