(Carl Levin Press Release, March 7, 2013)
Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., announced today that he will not seek re-election in 2014. He has been serving in the Senate since 1979. He released the following statement:
I have decided not to run for re-election in 2014.
This decision was extremely difficult because I love representing the people of Michigan in the U.S. Senate and fighting for the things that I believe are important to them.
As Barbara and I struggled with the question of whether I should run again, we focused on our belief that our country is at a crossroads that will determine our economic health and security for decades to come. We decided that I can best serve my state and nation by concentrating in the next two years on the challenging issues before us that I am in a position to help address; in other words, by doing my job without the distraction of campaigning for re-election.
Here are some of those issues. Years of bipartisan work by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations that I chair have shed light on tax avoidance schemes that are a major drain on our treasury. The huge loss of corporate tax receipts caused by the shift of U.S. corporate tax revenue to offshore tax havens is but one example of the egregious tax loopholes that we must end. Thirty of our most profitable companies paid no taxes over a recent three year period although they had over $150 billion in profits.
Tax avoidance schemes that have no economic justification or purpose other than to avoid paying taxes may be legal but they should not be. These schemes add hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficit. They lead to cuts in education, research, national security, law enforcement, infrastructure, food safety and other important investments in our nation. And they add to the tax burden of ordinary Americans who have to pick up the slack and accelerate the economic inequality in our country. I want to fight to bring an end to this unjustified drain on the Treasury.
Second, I want to ensure that the manufacturing renaissance that has led Michigan’s economic comeback continues. We’ve made progress in building the partnerships we need to help U.S. manufacturers succeed, but the next two years will be crucial to sustaining and building on that progress.
A third item I want to tackle is a growing blight on our political system that I believe I can help address: the use of secret money to fund political campaigns. Our tax laws are supposed to prevent secret contributions to tax exempt organizations for political purposes. My Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations needs to look into the failure of the IRS to enforce our tax laws and stem the flood of hundreds of millions of secret dollars flowing into our elections, eroding public confidence in our democracy.
Finally, the next two years will also be important in dealing with fiscal pressures on our military readiness. As Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I am determined to do all I can to address that issue. I also believe we need to pursue the rapid transfer of responsibility for Afghan security to the Afghans. And, as our troops come home, we must do a better job of caring for those who bear both the visible and invisible wounds of war.
These issues will have an enormous impact on the people of Michigan and the nation for years to come, and we need to confront them. I can think of no better way to spend the next two years than to devote all of my energy and attention to taking on these challenges.
Levin’s biography states:
From the first piece of legislation he introduced as a U.S. senator – a bill to end discrimination by credit card companies – Carl Levin has spoken up for working families, held powerful institutions accountable and worked to build an America that lives up to the ideals of its founders. He has become one of the nation’s most respected leaders on national security, a powerful voice for equality and justice, and a fighter for economic fairness.
TIME Magazine has named him one of America’s 10 best senators.
He comes from a family of public servants. His brother, Sander, represents Michigan’s 9th District in the House of Representatives, and serves as ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee. His father, Saul, served on the Michigan Corrections Commission. One uncle, Theodore Levin, was the chief judge on the U.S. District Court for Eastern Michigan.
In the Senate, his top priority has been the economic well-being of Michigan families. He has been a consistent voice for support of American manufacturing, the backbone of Michigan’s economy and the nation’s. And he has been one of the Senate’s strongest advocates for policies that would help American manufacturers compete globally, such as the grants for manufacturers of batteries and other components of advanced electric vehicles that have sparked major job creation in Michigan. He also has sought to continue and enhance Michigan manufacturing’s traditional role in protecting national security, supporting efforts to expand the Army’s National Automotive Center and Tank Automotive and Armaments Command in Warren and to strengthen the connections between the Defense Department and Michigan businesses.
No one would accuse Carl Levin of looking like Hollywood’s version of a U.S. Senator. He’s pudgy, balding and occasionally rumpled, and he constantly wears his glasses at the very tip of his nose. Still, the Michigan Democrat has gain respect from both parties for his attention to detail and deep knowledge of policy, especially in his role as a vigilant monitor of businesses and federal agencies. Another signature issue is protecting Michigan’s precious and diverse natural environment. As co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, he has fought to protect Michigan’s signature natural resource. His work has included support for Great Lakes harbors, which are vital to Michigan’s economy and the nation’s; work to increase funding for Great Lakes environmental restoration; and to preserve the natural, historical and cultural legacy of the lakes, including historic lighthouses. He has played a leading role in helping found the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Keweenaw National Historic Park and in legislation to preserve Michigan wilderness areas.
Since joining the Senate, he has been a member the Armed Services Committee. From 2001 to 2003 and again from 2007 to the present, he has been the committee’s chairman. He has focused on taking care of the men and women of our military and their families, supporting much-needed pay raises and improvements in treatment and other policies for wounded warriors. He has led oversight efforts to improve efficiency and reduce cost overruns in expensive weapons programs. He opposed the resolution giving congressional authorization to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, offering an alternative resolution that would have given time for weapons inspectors to do their work. He supported military action to eliminate the al Qaeda threat in Afghanistan. He has consistently supported policies that would encourage Afghan leaders to take responsibility for their nation’s security.
He’s honest to a fault, trustworthy, blunt, carries the torch for Michigan and the auto industry and has an impeccable political reputation. His legal background is evident in another thread that runs through his career: tough, vigilant oversight of powerful institutions in government and the private sector. He is chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. He has led investigations of the 2008 financial crisis, abusive credit card practices, the Enron collapse, speculation in energy and food markets, abusive offshore tax havens and money laundering by corrupt foreign leaders. He established an investigative team on the Armed Services Committee that has probed treatment of detainees in U.S. military custody and abuses by security contractors in Afghanistan. Whether questioning Wall Street executives or top generals, he has earned what Congressional Quarterly called a reputation “for a tough, prosecutorial style of questioning witnesses at hearings that rarely, if ever, comes across as grandstanding.”
He married Barbara Halpern in 1961. They raised three daughters, Kate, Laura and Erica, and they spend as much time as they can with their six grandchildren.
For more on Levin and his career, see his website at http://www.levin.senate.gov.