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Remembering a ‘giant’: Michigan lawmakers share memories of former Sen. Carl Levin

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 4:21 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - News of the passing of longtime Michigan Sen. Carl Levin (D) hit Capitol Hill Friday.

Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) won Levin’s seat after Levin decided to retire from the Senate after 36 years. He reflected on that 2014 election night.

“Carl, later that night, pulled me aside during that celebration, and said, ‘Gary, as you’re going into the Senate, you’re going to be pulled in a lot of different ways by a lot of different people. Just remember who you are,’” said Peters.

Levin chaired the Armed Services Committee. He visited Afghanistan several times.

“I remember, after 9/11, and our going into Afghanistan, and his belief that that was the right thing to do. I also remember though when the decision was in front of us about whether to go into Iraq,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) “He would pull people together, and look at all sides, and look at the facts, and who were the people who were really our threats.”

In 2014, Levin decided not to seek reelection. The Gray Television Washington News Bureau was there as he cleaned out his office. But that wasn’t the last of Carl Levin.

The Michigan lawmakers say Levin’s public service did not end when he left the Senate. He founded the Carl Levin Center at Wayne State University, and he was always around when they needed advice.

“We spoke on a regular basis,” recalled Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) “He had been named one of the mediators in the Flint water case. So, he obviously wanted to get as much of the background that I had on that case as he was considering what the outcome might look like.”

One outcome Levin did not get to see was the completion of a naval destroyer named in his honor.

“These ships will have thousands of people on them, and they’ll have to ask the question — who was Carl Levin? And it will be a teaching moment for those young people who serve the country to know about such an incredible person,” said Kildee.

Levin was 87-years-old.

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