Birthdate: Oct. 6, 1951
Birth Place: Detroit, MI, United States
Residence: Milford, MI
District: District 11
Kerry Bentivolio was born in Detroit and resides in Milford. He received an associate degree in liberal arts at Oakland Community College, attended Michigan State University and received a bachelor's degree from St. Mary's College. He received a master's degree in education from Marygrove College.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army after high school, and served as a rifleman in Vietnam until his honorable discharge. He remained active in the military, serving more than 20 years in the Michigan Army National Guard. He was assigned to the military police and in an administrative role with an artillery unit.
Bentivolio raises reindeer on a small farm in Milford. The reindeer are trained to pull Santa's sleigh during local parades and special holiday events. He also has a small flock of chickens, a 25-hive honeybee apiary and a 115-vine vineyard.
He has taught English, history, social studies and computer-aided design in public and private schools.
Bentivolio and his wife, Karen, have two adult children.
Kerry Bentivolio was a relative political unknown before announcing that he would challenge incumbent U.S. Rep. Thad McCotter, who represents Michigan's 11th Congressional District. He was the only Republican on the August 2012 primary ballot after McCotter pulled out of the race and resigned from the U.S. House because of invalid petition signatures.
Bentivolio criticized former state Sen. Nancy Cassis for jumping into the primary as a write-in candidate. Some Republican leaders unified behind Cassis in the primary. He responded that was an insult to tea party supporters who signed petitions to get him on the ballot.
He also said bracelets bearing Cassis' name and "11th District" passed out the day of Michigan's primary election were illegal.
He is a proponent of cutting taxes, capping government spending and balancing the national budget. He supports a balanced budget amendment.
Bentivolio favors 2nd Amendment rights and opposes "that career politicians think they can interfere with our citizens' rights to own firearms."
He is anti-abortion and against federal funding of Planned Parenthood.
Source: Associated Press