Carl Levin

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Carl Levin

Assumed office 
January 3, 1979
Serving with Debbie Stabenow
Preceded by Robert P. Griffin

Assumed office 
January 4, 2007
Preceded by John Warner
In office
June 6, 2001 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by John Warner
Succeeded by John Warner
In office
January 3, 2001 – January 20, 2001
Preceded by John Warner
Succeeded by John Warner

Born June 28, 1934 (1934-06-28) (age 76)
Detroit, Michigan
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Barbara Halpern-Levin
Children Kate Levin
Laura Levin
Erica Levin
Residence Detroit, Michigan
Alma mater Swarthmore College (B.A.)

Harvard University (J.D.)

Profession Lawyer
Religion Judaism
Website Carl Levin

Carl Milton Levin (born June 28, 1934) is a United States Senator from Michigan, serving since 1979. He is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

He has been Michigan's senior senator since 1995.[1] He has served as a U.S. Senator longer than any Senator in Michigan history. He was elected to a sixth term in 2008, which will end in January 2015.[2] He is the younger brother of U.S. Representative Sander M. Levin.


[edit] Early life, education and career

Levin was born in Detroit to Jewish parents Bess Levinson and Saul R. Levin.[3] He attended Detroit public schools and graduated from Swarthmore College in 1956 and from Harvard Law School in 1959.[4] Soon after earning his law degree, he was admitted to the Michigan bar and opened a practice in Detroit, where he still lives. He received honorary degrees from Michigan State University in 2004, Wayne State University in 2005, and Michigan Technological University in 2008.[2]

He was state assistant police officer and general counsel for the Michigan civil rights commission from 1964 to 1967.[2] He was special assistant attorney general for the state of Michigan and chief appellate defender for the city of Detroit from 1968 to 1969.[2] He was a member of the Detroit City Council from 1969 to 1977, serving two four-year terms, the last four years as council president.[2]

[edit] United States Senate

[edit] Committee assignments

[edit] Political positions

[edit] Armed Services

Senator Levin and Senator John Warner (R-VA) listen to Admiral Mike Mullen's Senate confirmation hearing for becoming Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Levin is currently the chairman of the Armed Services Committee. He has served as the Democrats' ranking member on the committee since January 7, 1997. Levin previously chaired the committee when the Democrats were the majority party in the Senate, January 3–20, 2001 and June 6, 2001 – January 6, 2003.

Levin joined the Armed Services Committee upon joining the Senate. Recalling when he was assigned the committee seat, he said that he wanted to learn more about the armed services. "I had never served, and I thought there was a big gap in terms of my background and, frankly, felt it was a way of providing service."[5]

He is a strong advocate for cost controls regarding military procurements.[6] He has also pushed for less secrecy in government, working to declassify many documents, particularly where claims of ties between Iraq and al-Qaeda are concerned. Levin voted against sending troops to Iraq and repeatedly called on the Bush administration to provide a timetable for the withdrawal of troops.

Levin has argued strongly that the war in Iraq is a diversion from the War on Terror. On CNN on November 14, 2005, Levin said that "before the war, the President was saying that you cannot distinguish between Saddam Hussein and Iraq. As a matter of fact, he said that so often that he tried to connect Saddam Hussein with the attackers on us, on 9/11, so often, so frequently and so successfully, even though it was wrong, that the American people overwhelmingly thought, because of the President's misstatements that as a matter of fact, Saddam Hussein had participated in the attack on us on 9/11. That was a deception. That was clearly misinformation. It had a huge effect on the American people."

Some have argued[who?] that this contradicts statements Levin made before the March 2003 beginning of major combat in Iraq. On CNN's Late Edition on December 16, 2001, he said that "The war against terrorism will not be finished as long as [Saddam Hussein] is in power." And as the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, he said during a hearing on September 19, 2002, "We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region."

Levin believes that in order to improve the military the United States needs to shut down more installations and get rid of excess infrastructure. Under his leadership, the Committee of Armed Forces passed the Defense Base Realignment and Closure Act, which closed some military bases.

The Prime Minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki, has hit back at senior U.S. politicians who have called for al-Maliki to be removed from office. He singled out Levin and Hillary Clinton, saying the Democratic senators were acting as if Iraq was "their property" and that they should "come to their senses" and "respect democracy".[7]

During the 2009 MDA/AIAA Annual Missile Defense Conference, Levin spoke in favor of the U.S.-Russian cooperation on missile defense:[8]

Leaders in both the U.S. and Russia have recently expressed interest in exploring missile defense cooperation. Did you ever believe that some of our missile defense engineers and experts might be working together with their Russian counterparts? It could happen and if it does, it could help address a major threat. The bottom line is simple: We have a new opportunity to seek a cooperative approach with Russia on missile defense, and we should seize it. The upside potential of such an effort is huge — a geopolitical game changer. The downside is minimal.[8]

[edit] Education

Levin was a strong supporter of the creation of The Department of Education. Over the years, Levin has introduced legislation and amendments to improve education, including an amendment that greatly reduced class sizes to help teachers better focus on the needs of each specific child. Levin was a hesitant sponsor of the No Child Left Behind Act, and still believes that the United States Congress should examine the effects of the Act. Levin was also disappointed with the final draft of the No Child Left Behind Act because it cut much of the increased funding for children with disabilities that was initially promised.

[edit] Energy

Senator Levin has directed the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations to investigate whether Department of Energy policies have caused a rise in the price in crude oil. He also led an investigation in 2001 to try to discover the cause of the spike in gasoline prices that summer.

Levin has opposed raising mandatory automobile fuel efficiency standards.[9]

Levin voted for the Energy Policy Act in 2005, a comprehensive energy bill that advanced vehicle technologies, banned drilling in the Great Lakes, improved the electrical grid of the US, and made energy efficiency a component of the United States' energy policy.

Levin led opposition in the Senate to the Rahall Energy Policy Bill (H.R. 6), but lost 65–27.

[edit] Environment

Levin is working to prevent garbage from Canada (typically about 160 trucks per day) from being disposed of in Michigan.

Levin wrote legislation in the 2003 National Defense Authorization Act, creating a program for the research and construction of fuel-cell vehicles.

In 1999 Levin obtained $56 million for the Detroit Riverfront Project. The funds will be used in part to acquire land for a major five-mile walkway and greenway along the Detroit River. The Detroit Riverfront has been contaminated for decades by pollutants from factories that once operated there.

[edit] Ethics

Senator Levin authored the Competition in Contracting Act, which has led to significant reductions in federal procurement costs. He also authored the Whistleblower Protection Act, which protected federal employees who expose wasteful and unnecessary practices.

Senator Carl Levin announces at a press conference regarding his opposition to the War in Iraq and his willingness to vote "No" on the authorization to give President George W. Bush the right to invade Iraq.

[edit] Health care

Senator Levin supported a Patients' Bill of Rights to reduce the ability of Managed care organizations to affect medical decisions.

Levin is an advocate for stem-cell research because of its potential to cure diseases like Alzheimer's, diabetes, and Parkinson's.

[edit] Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act

Carl Levin initiated the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act[10] against alleged tax havens[11] such as Liechtenstein.[12][13] For the state of the initiative against tax avoidance and tax evasion registered as S.506, and the complementary initiative H.R.1265, see: Thomas (Library of Congress).

[edit] Miscellaneous

Levin is a critic of the New Hampshire presidential primary's first-in-the-nation status, saying a more diverse state (such as his own Michigan) should hold its contest first.

In April 2006, Levin was selected by Time as one of "America's 10 Best Senators."[14]

The American Civil Liberties Union has given Levin an 84% lifetime rating on civil liberties issues.ACLU Congressional Scorecard

A strong gun control advocate, Levin has been graded F by Gun Owners of America. He was one of the 16 senators who voted against the Vitter Amendment.

He is almost always seen wearing his glasses at the end of his nose, which has drawn much humorous attention. In response, he lightheartedly joked that the late Senator Strom Thurmond (while he was in office) would have never worn his glasses because they "make him look old."[15] Daily Show host Jon Stewart refers to him both as the "kindly old shoemaker", and "Grandpa Munster".

An avid supporter of the non-profit civil rights organization Focus: HOPE, Levin was instrumental in the procurement of equipment and funding for their Machinist Training Institute (MTI).

[edit] Political campaigns

Levin was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1978, defeating Senate Minority Whip Robert P. Griffin.[16]

Levin faced a tough reelection bid in 1984 against former astronaut Jack R. Lousma, winning by only four percent. However, he routed Congressman Bill Schuette in 1990, and was reelected in 1996 and 2002 against only nominal Republican opposition. In 2002, Levin garnered 61% of the vote against Republican Andrew "Rocky" Raczkowski despite the then-high popularity of President George W. Bush and the GOP and a close gubernatorial race that year.

In the 2008 election[17] Levin won by a comfortable margin against state representative Jack Hoogendyk.

[edit] Electoral history

United States Senate election in Michigan, 2008

Carl Levin (D) (inc.) 63%
Jack Hoogendyk (R) 34%
Scotty Boman (Lib.) .02%
Harley Mikkelson (Green) .01%
Michael Nikitin (United States Taxpayers) .01%
Doug Dern (NLP) <.01%

United States Senate election in Michigan, 2002

Carl Levin (D) (inc.) 60%
Andrew Raczkowski (R) 38%
Eric Borregard (Green) 1%

United States Senate election in Michigan, 1996

Carl Levin (D) (inc.) 58%
Ronna Romney (R) 40%

United States Senate election in Michigan, 1990

Carl Levin (D) (inc.) 58.3%
Bill Schuette (R) 41.7%

United States Senate election in Michigan, 1984

Carl Levin (D) (inc.) 51.8%
Jack R. Lousma (R) 47.2%

United States Senate election in Michigan, 1978

Carl Levin (D) 52.1%
Robert P. Griffin (R) (inc.) 47.9%

[edit] Personal life

Carl Levin married Barbara Halpern in 1961 and they have three daughters: Kate, Laura, and Erica.

Levin's family has long been active in Michigan politics. His older brother, Sander M. Levin, has represented Michigan's 12th congressional district in the House of Representatives since 1983. Sandy's son (Carl's nephew) Andy Levin was a policy analyst for the AFL-CIO and later ran unsuccessfully for the Michigan Senate. Carl's uncle Theodore Levin, was a chief judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Carl's first cousin Charles Levin was a Michigan Supreme Court judge; another, first cousin, Joseph Levin, was a candidate for the House.

[edit] Footnotes

  1. ^ "Carl Levin". New York: Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Id.
  3. ^ "1<!- Bot generated title ->". 1934-06-28. Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  4. ^ "Carl Levin — U.S. Senator from Michigan". Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  5. ^ "Chairman Offers Tough Scrutiny of Military". Roll Call. 2010-05-24. Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  6. ^ "Pentagon's future fighter aircraft doubles in cost". CNN. March 12, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Maliki returns fire at US critics". BBC News. 2007-08-26. Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  8. ^ a b Remarks of Senator Carl Levin at the MDA/AIAA Annual Missile Defense Conference, March 23, 2009
  9. ^ York, Anthony (2002-03-14). "". Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  10. ^ "C:\DOCUME~1\MAT\LOCALS~1\Temp\MAT07232" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  11. ^ "Portail d'informations Bank Julius Baer". Retrieved 2010-05-27. [dead link]
  12. ^ Liechtensteinische Landesverwaltung (2007-06-22). "Aktuelle Kleine Anfragen – Regierung – Landesverwaltung Liechtenstein". Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  13. ^ "Frontline: Tax Me If You Can: Interviews: Carl Levin". PBS. 2004-02-19. Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  14. ^ "". April 14, 2006.,8599,1183959,00.html. Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  15. ^ "". 2004-04-16. Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  16. ^ "Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) - Washington Post". 2010-04-28. Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  17. ^ "". Retrieved 2010-05-27. 

[edit] External links

United States Senate
Preceded by
Robert P. Griffin
United States Senator (Class 2) from Michigan
January 3, 1979 – present
Served alongside: Donald W. Riegle, Jr., Spencer Abraham, Debbie Stabenow
Political offices
Preceded by
John Warner
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services
January 3, 2001 – January 20, 2001
Succeeded by
John Warner
Preceded by
John Warner
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services
June 6, 2001 – January 3, 2003
Succeeded by
John Warner
Preceded by
John Warner
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services
January 4, 2007–present
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by
Frank J. Kelley
Democratic Party nominee for United States Senator from Michigan
(Class 2)

1978, 1984, 1990, 1996, 2002, 2008
Succeeded by
Most recent election
United States order of precedence
Preceded by
Thad Cochran
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Chuck Grassley
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