Politics Tributes Flood in for Carl Levin After Former Senator Dies at 87: 'Champion for Michigan'
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Tributes have poured in for former Senator Carl Levin following his death on Thursday at the age of 87. The Democrat was the longest-serving U.S. senator in the history of Michigan.
Levin's passing was announced on Thursday evening by family spokesperson Jim Townsend, director of the Levin Center at Wayne State University law school. Many of those who knew him quickly took to social media to mourn him and praise the senator's work and personality.
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He served 36 years in thefrom 1979 until his retirement in 2015. He was also a longtime member of the Armed Services Committee, serving as the ranking member when were in the minority and as chair when they were the majority party.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said Levin "was a champion for Michigan."
"He devoted his life to public service, and it's up to us to follow his example. My thoughts are with his loved ones tonight," Whitmer said.
In her statement honoring Levin, Whitmer pointed to his work on nuclear weapons and missile treaties and his
The Michigancalled Levin a "living legend, always putting the needs of Michiganders ahead of his own."
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"Known worldwide as a defender of peace and a champion for good, he represented the best of Michigan," the party said.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson issued a statement on Levin's passing, saying a "light has gone out today in Michigan that can never be replaced."
"I have no words to express what Senator Carl Levin and his lifetime of dedication to our city, state and country meant to me and so many of us who seek to serve and lead," Benson said.
Video: Ex-Sen. Levin, Michigan’s longest-serving senator, has died (Associated Press)
Former Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) tweeted: "Carl Levin was a wonderful Senator and an even better man. Loaded with intelligence and integrity, he led the most complicated efforts to get public policy right, with an emphasis on the public good. I was so grateful for his mentoring and friendship. My sympathy to his family."
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Senator Carl Levin was a champion for Michigan. He devoted his life to public service, and it’s up to us to follow his example. My thoughts are with his loved ones tonight. pic.twitter.com/seE30UNrjP— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) July 30, 2021
Representative Eric Swalwell, a Democrat who represents California's 15th congressional district, shared an anecdote about Levin and his brother, U.S. Representative Sander "Sandy" Levin. Carl and Sander Levin served together infor more than 30 years.
"As a congressional intern, I worked at a gym near the Capitol," Swalwell wrote. "Every morning, I checked out a racquetball court to Carl and his brother, Rep. Sandy Levin. I was a 20-year-old nobody, but Carl was always so kind & greeted me by name each morning."
CNN's Jake Tapper also shared a memory of Levin and his brother, saying: "Years ago I would run into Sen Carl Levin and his brother Rep Sander Levin at a gym on Capitol Hill. They would play squash against each other. It was really nice and sweet to see. May his memory be a blessing."
Michigan State Senator Sean McCann called Levin the "conscience of the Senate."
Carl Levin, Michigan’s longest-serving senator, dies at 87
Carl Milton Levin was born in Detroit on June 28, 1934, and he stayed in the Motor City for most of his life. After high school, he spent time as a taxi driver and worked on auto assembly plant lines to help put himself through school. Always proud of having helped build the DeSoto and Ford trucks at a plant in Highland Park, he held onto his United Auto Workers union membership card for decades. That ended when his wallet was stolen. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Swarthmore College in 1956, and a law degree from Harvard in 1959.
"[H]e was my inspiration for public service. Michigan has lost a giant," McCann said.
Representative Elisa Slotkin, a Democrat representing Michigan's 8th congressional district, said Levin was an example for others to follow.
"Carl Levin led an amazing life, and set the gold standard for. May his memory be a blessing. And may we all seek to live up to his example," Slotkin tweeted.
Newsweek has asked the Levin Center at Wayne University for comment.
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