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President, public officials, others react to Carl Levin’s death

Former Sen. Carl Levin died Thursday at the age of 87.
FILE. In this June 4, 2013, file photo, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich. asks a question of a witness...
FILE. In this June 4, 2013, file photo, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich. asks a question of a witness during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on legislation regarding sexual assaults in the military. Former Sen. Carl Levin, a powerful voice for the military during his career as Michigan’s longest-serving U.S. senator, has died. The Democrat was 87. Levin’s family says Levin died Thursday, July 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)(Susan Walsh | AP)
Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 1:35 PM EDT
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MICHIGAN (WLUC) - Former Sen. Carl Levin has died. He was a powerful voice on military issues in Washington and a staunch supporter of the auto industry back home in Michigan during his record tenure in the U.S. Senate. He was 87. The Harvard-educated civil rights attorney and former taxi driver, who for decades carried his faded 1953 auto union membership card in his wallet died Thursday, his family announced in a statement. Below are statements, stories and reactions to his death.

President Joe Biden released a statement and comment’s about Levin’s death on Friday, saying:

“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. 

“Brilliant, humble, and principled, 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. 

“Over the course of his thirty-six years in the Senate, the longest serving Senator in Michigan history, he showed how democracy – and our institutions – can deliver and work for the people. 

“As chairman and ranking member of the Armed Services Committee during my time leading the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I saw how he built consensus to protect our national security, uphold our values, and honor the service of every patriot in uniform. He led on critical issues ranging from the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, ending the use of torture, and recognizing the dignity of every American and allowing them to serve regardless of who they are and who they love. 

“A son of Detroit who never forgot where he came from, Carl always stood up for the American worker and the iconic American auto industry. In the midst of the Great Recession in 2009, with Detroit on its back and the industry on the brink, we worked together to do everything we could to get them back up. And they did because of Carl. 

“On education, gun safety, on holding corporate America accountable for abuse and greed, and so much more – Carl always looked out for the people. 

“Each time I traveled to Michigan with Carl over the years was special. We would talk about how we both got first involved in public life because of issues of civil rights and first got started in elected office – he on the Detroit City Council and I on the New Castle County Council. We would talk about the beauty of the Great Lakes and the Detroit RiverWalk. Most of all, we would talk about family. 

“Jill and I send our love to his beloved Barbara, their children, and grandchildren. Despite the full life he lived, we know the void his loss leaves. We know despite his courageous fight against cancer, it still leaves behind a heavy toll. We’re also thinking of our dear friends, his brother and former Congressman Sandy Levin, and his nephew Congressman Andy Levin, who share Carl’s commitment to service and country. 

“Carl Levin embodied the character of the people of Michigan he served throughout his remarkable career. Above all, he embodied the best of who we are as Americans. 

“May God bless a great American, a dear friend, and a good man.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a statement Thursday night:

“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. 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. Carl devoted his life to public service, and it us up to us to follow his example. My thoughts are with his family, many of whom are lifelong public servants, including his brother, former Congressman Sander Levin and his nephew, Congressman Andy Levin. Carl, we miss you.”

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) released the following statement on the passing of Senator Carl Levin:

“Senator Carl Levin was a champion for truth and justice and a tireless advocate for the people of Michigan. He always believed that our government could be a force for good, and he spent his career showing all of us how it’s done. Senator Levin was also my friend, and it was truly an honor to represent Michigan alongside him for 14 of the 36 years that he served in the Senate. Michigan was so fortunate to have him fighting for us. My heart goes out to his beloved Barbara, his brother and best friend Sandy, his nephew Andy, his wonderful daughters and all of his family.”

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) said the following:

“The world lost a giant today, and I lost a personal hero. Senator Levin’s decades-long dedication to representing the people of Michigan set a bar few elected officials will ever meet. His no-nonsense, brutally honest approach to politics is what gained him respect across the aisle. I greatly admired his unwavering commitment to doing what was right – even if it wasn’t easy – and his passionate approach to understanding every single issue he voted on. We all could learn a great deal from his service. My thoughts are with his loved ones. There will never be another Carl Levin.”

Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist (D) said:

“Senator Levin was a giant whose power and dedication was felt throughout our state. Michiganders trusted Senator Levin to get the job done, which is why they continued to send him back to Washington, D.C as our state’s longest-serving senator. And throughout all of those years, Senator Levin never backed down from putting Michigan families first. There’s not a single Michigander who hasn’t benefited from the policies and programs that Senator Levin helped to usher through Congress. His presence will be greatly missed by the untold lives that he touched, especially the young leaders like me who he continually encouraged and supported. My heart is with his family and all of the Michiganders across the state who are mourning this tremendous loss. Senator Levin set the path for all of us to continue his great work.”

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) released a statement Thursday night, and a story about her time at Wayne State University Law School:

“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 during these uniquely divided times.

“My best days as Dean at Wayne State University Law School were when I got to work with and learn from him, whether it was co-teaching a class on legislation and leadership or launching the Levin Center, or simply sitting in his office asking him for advice and hearing stories from his life of service.

“When I told him I wanted to run for Michigan Secretary of State he was unhesitatingly all-in: hosting events, calling supporters, nominating me at the Michigan Democratic Party Convention. He was a constant source of wisdom and support, always encouraging me to lead courageously and always having my back.

“In our last conversation I thanked him for writing his memoirs at a time when we all desperately need to learn more of how he served 36 years in the U.S. Senate and a lifetime in politics while remaining steadfastly humble, loyal, devoted, and kind.

“His commitment to service was everything we need from our leaders but so rarely get. I will miss our lunches, talks, and I’ll keep working every day to be more like him. If we all do that, we can honor his years of devotion to Michigan, to Detroit, and to our country.”

Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters (MRCC) remembered Senator Carl Levin as a champion of working people:

“Senator Levin served his state with distinction for decades,” said Tom Lutz, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the MRCC. “Working men and women throughout Michigan continue to benefit today from the results Senator Levin delivered from Washington with his trademark humility, wit, and integrity. Despite rising to the highest levels of office, Senator Levin never forgot where he came from, or the people he served so well. On behalf of the working families of the MRCC, I extend our sincere condolences to the Levin family in their time of mourning.”

With more than 14,000 members, the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights represents the largest skilled trades union in the state.

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