As of Monday a reported 2,915 American service members have died in Iraq since the beginning of the war in 2003. And for Congressman Elect Tim Walberg of the 7th district, this is one of his biggest concerns.
"To say anything other than Iraq and the war that's going on there is necessary is wrong. The reason we got in and the ultimate battle that goes on with terrorism; it's extremely important to me and my constituents," Walberg says.
The war is having a clear effect on mid-Michigan, and lately, on one specific company. On Dec. 7, Lance Corporal Brent Beeler of Napoleon Township was shot and killed in Iraq. And Lance Corporal Troy Nealey of Eaton Rapids died just weeks earlier. They were both Marines in the Charlie Company 1st Battalion 24th Marine Regiment out of Lansing.
"It's a great sadness and a great pride that these young men and women are giving their lives for the country and people they don't even know," Walberg says.
Walberg has his work cut out for him when he gets to Washington. The war in Iraq is just one of his top priorities.
"I'll be fighting for a better economy, and the traditional family values I promised my constituents."
Republican Walberg is coming into a Democrat-run Congress, something that may pose a challenge.
"We don't choose to be in the majority or the minority. We just have to work to the best of our abilities," he says.
Regardless, he won't lose sight of issues like the war in Iraq, not as long as Mid-Michigan keeps sacrificing its service men and women like Brent Beeler and Troy Nealey for a greater cause.