Carl Levin, Michigan’s longest-serving senator, dies at 87

Famous for watching over eyeglasses worn on the end of his nose, Carl Levin looked comfortable wherever he went, whether he was in college … football game back home in Michigan or taking on a multibillionaire-dollar company before the cameras on Capitol.

Michigan’s longest-serving United States senator had a slightly disheveled appearance, down-to-earth behavior that helped him win over voters during his 36-year career, as well as his loyal support for the hometown auto industry. But the lawyer who graduated from Harvard also he was a respected voice on military problems, years go by leading the powerful Armed Forces Commission of the Senate.

Despite his record mandate and status, he kept his role in prospect. At his direction, the portraits of all 38 senators who had served before or with him from Michigan statehood in 1837 were hanged in his office conference room. Two blanks have been reserved for future senators.

“Impart of a long trail of people who they represented Michigan, “Levin said in 2008. “I am just part of That history. The people coming up behind me … can pick up where I am leaving off, whoever they are. “

The former Taxi driver And auto- line worker, who for decades have kept its faded 1953 union card in his wallet died on Thursday at the age of 87 family and the Levin Center of Wayne State University School of Law did not issue a cause of death in an evening statement. he was living with lung cancer from the age of 83.

“We are all devastated by his loss. But we are full with gratitude for Everyone of the support that Carl has received during his extraordinary life and career, allowing him to touch so many people and accomplish so much good”, reads the press release.

First elected in the Senate in 1978, Levin represented Michigan longer than any other senator, targeting tax havens, supporting manufacturing and pushing work for military financing. His term was a testament for voter approval of the slightly crumpled, down-to-earth Detroit native which Time magazine ranked in a 10. of the nation best senators in 2006.

“He is just a very decent person, “Democratic Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, another member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said: in 2008. “It’s unassuming, unassuming. It never forgets that what we’re doing is entangled with the lives of the people he represents.”

A Washington insider e former known prosecutor for his professorial bearing, Levin took a civil but frank approach that allowed him to work actually with Republicans and fellow Democrats. He was particularly cunning on defense counts thanks to his years as the first Democrat on Armed Forces Commission of the Senate.

And he wasn’t afraid to say what he thought.

Was in the minority – even among its Democratic Senate colleagues – when he voted against send US troops in Iraq in 2002, and two years later claimed that President George W. Bush’s administration had “written the book” on how to mishandle a war. “He cautiously endorsed President Barack Obama’s 2009 construction of troops in Afghanistan, but then warned of “the beginnings of fraying ” of Democratic support.

Was also critical of The building of President Ronald Reagan of nuclear weapons, saying it came at the expense of conventional weapons needed to keep military readiness.

But, colleagues said, it almost always generated a sensation of respect.

“We have always had a very trusting and respectful relationship,” Republican Senator John Warner, who worked closely for years with Levina on the Armed Forces Committee, he once said. “We don’t try to surprise on each other. The security of the nation and well-being of the armed forces arrive first. “

Famous for wearing his glasses down on his nose, Levin seemed to be the same outspoken, hardworking guy wherever he went, whether he was … in front of cameras on Capitol, on a overseas fact-to find mission or lost in the crowd of a college football Stadium on game day.

“No one would accuse Carl Levin of analyze, search, look like of Hollywood version of a United States senator. He is plump, bald, and a lot in so creased, and constantly wears glasses on the tip of his nose, “Time magazine said in his 2006 article ranking the senator among the best. “However, Democratic Michigan has earned the respect of both sides for his attention to detail and his deep knowledge of policy, especially in his role like a watchful monitor of federal businesses and agencies “.

an enemy of fraud and waste, Levin conducted an investigation in 2002 in Enron Corp., which had filed for bankruptcy the previous one year in half financial scandals. The probe contributed to a new federal law requiring executives to sign off on financial statements in so that they can be criminally liable for post bogus numbers.

Levin pushed the legislation designed break down on offshore tax havens, he said cost the United States government at least $ 100 billion a year in lost taxes. He also it was a advocate for stem cell research And gun check.

Closer to home, Levin promoted policies for the benefit of the auto sector and supported by donating $ 25 billion in loan guarantees to General Motors and Chrysler. Claimed that a lively servant auto the industry was instrumental in rebuilding economy after the Great Recession. He also was a member of an assignment force supporting efforts for fight pollution and other environmental problems affecting the Great Lakes.

“If you’ve ever worn a uniform, you’ve taken a shift on an assembly line, or sacrificed to make ends meet, then you’ve had a voice it’s a vote in Sen. Carl Levin, “Obama said in 2013. “No. one worked harder to bring manufacturing jobs back to our coasts, close the unfair tax loopholes e ensure that everyone plays the same way set of rules. “

Carl Milton Levin was born in Detroit on June 28, 1934, and remained in the city of motors for more of his life. After high school, he spent time as a taxi driver and it worked on auto assembly lines for help go to school.

Always proud of having helped build the DeSoto and Ford trucks in an establishment in Highland Park, held its United Auto Workers union membership card for decades. It ended when her wallet was stolen.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in politic science from Swarthmore College in 1956 and a degree in reads at Harvard in 1959. He married his wife, Barbara, two years later, and together they raised three daughters.

Levin fell in line with his family has a strong sense of Street number duty in 1964, when he was appointed assistant state attorney general and the first general counsel for the Michigan Civil Rights Commission. Its oldest brother, former Longtime US Representative Sander “Sandy” Levin had a liberal vote record on lot of social problems, while theirs father served on the Michigan Corrections Commission, a citizen group who oversaw prison operations, and theirs mother volunteer for a Jew organization.

Carl Levin was the only Jewish senator from Michigan. He once said that public the service was in its DNA, and politics he often talked about it at the table when he was a boy.

He dived in public office when the Detroit voters elected him to the City Council in 1969, and served as its president before ousting a Republican to win the Senate of 1978 race. He won place five more times but decided against in execution for one seventh term in 2014.

Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer called Levin a “champion” for Michigan.”

“He saw what we were capable of of when we came to the table as Michigan citizens, as Americans, to do things, “he said.” Carl dedicated his life to public service, and it is us up to us to follow his example “.

After his retirement, the Levin Center at Wayne Law was established to promote fact-based, bipartisan oversight by Congress and state legislatures and to encourage civilian dialogue on public policy problems. He chaired the center and co-taught law courses. He also he was a partner and distinguished counsel at the studio Honigman lawyer in Detroit.

His memoir, “Getting to the heart of the question: my 36 years in the Senate, “was published in March. The Navy has appointed a destroyer for him to honor his years of public service.

His grandson, Andy Levin, was re-elected in 2020 to his fatherthe headquarters of the 9th congressional district representing the parties of Suburban Detroit.

“Carl Levin personified integrity and notion of putting the public good above self-interest “, Andy Levin said, calling it” the image itself ” of sober purpose and righteousness. In truth, it was no little fun. In fact, has often pierced tense situations with self-deprecating humor and shared in private incisive remarks on others with personal e colleagues. “

Carl Levin is survived from his wife, their three adult daughters, Kate, Laura and Erica, and several grandchildren. There will be a private funeral. Information about a public memorial will be forthcoming.

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