Carl Levin dead – Longest-serving Michigan Senator known for grilling top CEOs dies aged 87 after lung cancer battle

FORMER US senator Carl Levin has died. 

He was 87-years-old and was Michigan’s longest-serving congressman who earned esteem for taking on American corporate greed.

“He had a penchant for seeing the world through the eyes of people who struggled against injustice and was called to hold our democratic institutions accountable to everyone – first as a student activist, then as a young defense attorney, Detroit City Council member, and U.S. Senator,” a statement released by both Levin’s family and the Levin Center at Wayne State University reads.

The Democrat’s cause of death wasn’t mentioned in the announcement, but he had mentioned in March that he had lung cancer, a family spokesman told the New York Times.

Levin served in Congress as Michigan's only Jewish senator from being elected in 1978 and then retiring in 2015.

A year after retiring from Congress in 2015, the former politician enjoyed the unveiling of a photo of the USS Carl M. Levin during a ceremony in Detroit

His older brother was longtime U.S. Rep. Sander “Sandy” Levin who also was known for his liberal positions.

Their parents were also involved in public service with their dad serving on the Michigan Corrections Commission and their mother volunteering for a Jewish organization.

The Harvard-grad who once worked as a cab driver before becoming a civil rights attorney, garnered respect while serving as the chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. 

He was also a staunch supporter of the auto industry, who checked the powers of some corporate C.E.O.s for utilizing tax havens along with backing gun control initiatives and advancing stem-cell research. 

Levin stood in the way of former President Ronald Reagan’s attempt to increase nuclear weapons, arguing at the time that doing so stripped the military of its reliance on conventional weapons.

He also condemned President George W. Bush’s administration for its handling of the Iraq conflict saying at the time he had “written the book on how to mismanage a war.”

Back in 2013, former President Barack Obama regarded Levin as someone who outworked anybody else ‘to bring manufacturing jobs back to our shores, close unfair tax loopholes and ensure that everyone plays by the same set of rules,” according to The Associated Press.

“If you’ve ever worn the uniform, worked a shift on an assembly line, or sacrificed to make ends meet, then you’ve had a voice and a vote in Sen. Carl Levin,” Obama said.

“He’s just a very decent person,” Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, who served on Senate Armed Services Committee which was once chaired by Levin, said in 2008. 

“He’s unpretentious, unassuming. He never forgets that what we’re doing is enmeshed with the lives of the people he represents.”

He managed to reach not only bipartisanship across the aisle, but also gain respect from his conservative peers.

The late-Republican Sen. John Warner, who also worked closely with Levin on the Armed Services Committee said: “We’ve always had a very trusting and respectful relationship.

“We do not try to pull surprises on each other. The security of the nation and the welfare of the armed services come first.”

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer regarded Levin as “champion for Michigan.”

“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,” according to a statement.

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His nephew Rep. Andy Levin, who serves parts of suburban Detroit remembered the man for his commitment to both duty and decency.

“Carl Levin personified integrity and the notion of putting the public good above self-interest,” Andy Levin said. 

He also characterized his uncle as “the very picture of sober purpose and rectitude. 

“In truth, he wasn’t unfun. In fact, he often pierced tense situations with self-deprecating humor, and he privately shared incisive observations about others with staff and colleagues.”


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