State U.S. Senator Carl Levin Dies at 87

Carl Levin, a former U.S. Sen. and Michigan Democrat who served Michigan’s U.S. Senate for almost 40 years, died at age 87 years old, Crain’s reported.

The Levin Center at Wayne State University announced his passing on Thursday night, according to the article.

Carl Milton Levin was born in Detroit in 1934, and came from a public political family, according to the article. He was a lifelong Democrat and served on the Detroit City Council from 1968 to 1977.

He was first elected to the Senate in 1978, and Levin represented Michigan longer than any other senator for 36 years. He focused on tax shelters, supporting manufacturing jobs, and had an interest in promoting military funding, according to the article.

Levin earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Swarthmore College in 1956 and had a law degree from Harvard in 1959, according to the article.

Once he retired from the Senate, Levin joined forces with the Detroit law firm Honigman LLP as partner and counsel, according to the article.

Wayne State University Law School Dean Richard A. Bierschbach said in a statement that Levin was the “consummate statesman.”

“He lived and breathed Detroit. First as City Council president, then as Michigan’s longest-serving U.S. senator, and after his retirement when he chose Wayne State University Law School – Detroit’s Law School – to be home to the center that would bear his name,” Bierschbach said. “To everyone who knew him, Senator Levin will be remembered as one of the kindest, most humble, genuine, and loyal individuals you would ever encounter. When he first came to Wayne Law, I’m told that he was very concerned about the size of his office. He felt it was simply too big and should really have gone to somebody else. That’s the kind of person Senator Levin was.”

Carl Levin is survived by his wife, their three daughters, Kate, Laura, and Erica, and grandchildren, according to the article.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer today issued the following statement on the passing of former the United States Senator Carl Levin:

“Senator Carl Levin was a champion for Michigan. His 36-year tenure in the United States Senate, the longest in state history, was marked by a tireless commitment to our auto industry, Great Lakes, and men and women in uniform,” Whitmer said. “Carl paved the way for a safer planet, helped pass several nuclear weapons and missile treaties, and spoke out courageously against entering the war in Iraq. He made Michigan a safer and better place for our families, securing funds to create the Detroit Riverwalk and writing the bill that established Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park. Carl would often wear his glasses on the tip of his nose, but he saw the best in us. He saw what we were capable of when we came to the table as Michiganders, as Americans, to get things done.”

Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement that he was “deeply saddened” about the passing of Levin.

“He served our city with dignity as a City Councilman and our nation as a US Senator and always considered Detroit his home,” he said. “Sen. Levin was first and foremost a dedicated family man. He will be remembered as a champion for civil rights, for his protection of the US auto industry, and for securing critical funding to begin the redevelopment of our internationally acclaimed Riverfront. His legacy will live on forever in the hearts of Detroiters. My heart goes out to his family at this difficult time.”

“Senator Levin was one of the finest leaders to have ever served the State of Michigan and our country,” U.S. Senator Gary Peters also said in a statement.

“When I first began serving in Congress, I would often seek Senator Levin’s advice. His guidance was especially important to me as I succeeded him in the United States Senate. He was not only a mentor – he was a personal friend, who I looked up to as an extraordinary public servant. Senator Levin would always extend his hand to get things done for the betterment of our country – and today’s Congress would do well to follow his example of commonsense problem-solving,” Peters added. “Colleen and I extend our deepest condolences to his loving wife Barbara, his daughters Kate, Laura, and Erica, his brother Sandy and to the entire Levin family.”

President Joe Biden also gave a statement on the passing of Levin.

“For thirty years, Carl Levin and I served together in the United States Senate. He was one of the most honorable and decent people I have ever known,” Biden, who described Levin as brilliant, humbled, and principled said. “Carl earned the trust of his constituents and colleagues by doing the work. He studied the issues in detail. He forged consensus across the aisle. He built coalitions across his beloved Michigan. With his head tilted down, his eyes peering over his glasses – Carl always looked people straight into their own eyes, listened with an open mind, and responded the way he saw it with respect … May God bless a great American, a dear friend, and a good man.”
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