Carl Levin

Politics & Government
8:41 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Commentary: Land for Senate?

Ever since U.S. Senator Carl Levin announced three months ago that he wouldn't seek another term next year, most Michigan Republicans have been waiting for Godot.

Except in this case, Godot is Brighton area Congressmen Mike Rogers, who most GOP leaders felt would be their strongest candidate. Rogers has been unable or unwilling to decide, however, and it seems increasingly unlikely that he will run.

He has a safe seat in Congress and a powerful and prestigious position as chair of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Giving all that up for a risky run for a seat in a state where Democrats usually win U.S. Senate contests might not seem that appealing. But I’ve never felt Rogers was the Republicans' strongest potential candidate. I think their best chance to win is the woman who announced her candidacy this week, Terri Lynn Land.

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Politics & Government
2:03 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

After 20 months of no contact, Flint native imprisoned in Iran communicates with family

Amir Hekmati has been in Iranian prison for two years.
Courtesy: Free Amir Freeamir.org

626 days and counting. That’s how long a young Iranian-American man from Flint has been in police custody in Tehran.

Two years ago, Amir Hekmati traveled to Iran to visit his grandmother. Iranian officials accused Hekmati of spying for the CIA, seizing the ex-Marine and throwing him into prison.

In January 2012, Hekmati was sentenced to death for his alleged conspiring with the U.S. government.

Later, the Iranian Supreme Court overturned his sentence, but Hekmati is still waiting in prison for a retrial — with no apparent end in sight.

But Hekmati’s family, based in Michigan, hasn’t stopped fighting for Amir’s release.

Since his arrest in 2011, Amir’s family has posted pictures in Times Square, hosted art exhibitions in Detroit, and urged state officials in Washington to move on the case.

“We’re not getting a lot of movement from Iran,” Amir’s sister Sarah Hekmati told us on Stateside. “But we’re trying to raise awareness of the situation.”

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Stateside
5:14 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Talking with Congressman, and now Senate candidate, Gary Peters

Gary Peters in his Washington D.C. office. He's hoping to move next door, to the Senate, in 2014.
Gary Peters Facebook

It's been nearly two months since U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) announced he would not seek a seventh term.

That announcement sets up one of the biggest political questions in Michigan: who will take over his seat in 2014?

Last week , three-time Congressman Gary Peters announced he will run for Levin's seat. Democrats say Peters gives them a strong candidate.

Republicans say the Congressman has supported left-leaning policies that have become unpopular in Michigan.

Congressman, and now Senate candidate, Gary Peters joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:11 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Who will the Republicans put up for U.S. Senate?

U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) is not running for a seventh term.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

  Who might be the Republicans' best hope of winning Michigan's Senate seat?

Republican strategist Dennis Lennox joined us today.

We asked him why a Republican hasn't jumped into the race yet and who their ideal candidate might be.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
3:30 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Democrat Gary Peters launching his campaign for U.S. Senate

Gary Peters stands in front of a photograph of his great, great grandfather, sitting in front of his Rochester business. Peters' announcement took place in a sandwich shop at the same location of his ancestor's business.
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

“Today is a big day to start.  But the start of what’s going to be a long campaign.”

With that, suburban Detroit Congressman Gary Peters informally launched his bid for the United States Senate today in Rochester.   A formal campaign kickoff is planned for this fall. 

The Bloomfield Township Democrat  is hoping to succeed Senator Carl Levin who is retiring from the Senate after six terms in Washington.

Peters says his business background as a financial planner helped prepare him for Washington.

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Politics & Government
12:58 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

U.S. Gary Peters announces U.S. Senate bid

U.S. Rep. Gary Peters (MI - 14)
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

It's has been expected, and now it is official.

In an e-mail to supporters today, this logo was at the top:

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Politics & Government
3:54 pm
Sat April 20, 2013

Debbie Dingell decides against 2014 US Senate run

Debbie Dingell
Credit Wayne State University

Democratic national committeewoman Debbie Dingell says she has decided not to run for the U.S. Senate seat that opened up with Carl Levin's impending retirement.

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Politics & Government
4:45 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Suspicious letter forces evacuation of Sen. Carl Levin's Saginaw office

Sen. Carl Levin (D)
Official portrait

Update 4:50 p.m.

Sen. Levin's office says as a precaution, the Saginaw office will remain closed until further notice. In a statement, Levin said: 

“Law enforcement officials are performing tests on the suspicious letter that was delivered to my Saginaw office. We do not expect to learn at least a preliminary result of those tests until late tonight or tomorrow. The staffer who discovered the letter is being kept overnight at a local hospital for precautionary reasons, but has no symptoms. We do not know yet if the letter has any connection to suspicious mail sent to other public officials. I want to repeat how grateful I am to local, state and federal authorities who reacted so quickly and professionally, and especially to my Saginaw staff for being so vigilant."

4:35 p.m.

An FBI spokesman says the incident is still under investigation, but that people were allowed to return to the building a little after 3 p.m.

1:15 p.m.

Senator Carl Levin's office in Saginaw was evacuated this morning after a staffer received a suspicious-looking letter.

The letter was unopened and authorities still don't know whether it presented a threat, Levin wrote in a statement.

"Earlier today, a staffer at my Saginaw regional office received a suspicious-looking letter," he wrote. "The letter was not opened, and the staffer followed the proper protocols for the situation, including alerting the authorities, who are now investigating. We do not know yet if the mail presented a threat. I’m grateful for my staff’s quick response and for government personnel at all levels who are responding."

Levin is in Washington, D.C. today. Two staffers work in the Saginaw office.

Authorities in Washington are investigating suspicious packages sent to President Barack Obama and Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker (R) that contained traces of the poison ricin.

Capitol Police are also investigating other suspicious packages found in Senate office buildings surrounding the Capitol.

- Joseph Lichterman, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Politics & Government
10:12 am
Sat March 16, 2013

Finding Carl Levin's replacement

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The new leader of the Michigan Democratic Party says it has time to agree on top-flight candidates to replace Sen. Carl Levin and take on Gov. Rick Snyder.

Lon Johnson told The Associated Press that he takes exception to the notion that Snyder is safe because no Democrats have stepped forward to run for governor and the party has to focus on holding Levin's seat.

Politics & Government
9:53 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Commentary: Running for the Senate

Lessenberry commentary for 3/13/13

Last week, Senator Carl Levin announced that he won’t run again next year. Ever since, politicians have been talking nearly nonstop about who will be.

When I woke up yesterday morning, the only one it seemed safe to declare out of the race was former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who seems certain to be in federal prison.

Other than that, in terms of speculation, anything goes. Until yesterday, that is, when Scott Romney, older brother of the defeated presidential candidate, took himself out as well.

Romney, a former MSU trustee, said something revealing. While he was flattered to be considered, he added, “I’m happy with my life.”  That was probably more revealing than he meant it to be.

In my opinion, nobody who is truly happy with their life would run for a major office these days. Anyone seeking to replace Carl Levin has to expect a year and a half of endless travel, endless media scrutiny, and anywhere from two to six candidates in your own party doing anything they can to run you down.

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Politics & Government
7:55 am
Mon March 11, 2013

In this morning's news: Detroit and possible EM, Rogers considers run for Senate, Maple Syrup Month

Detroit has one more day to avoid an emergency manager

"The Detroit city council has one more day to put the final touches to its arguments to avert a state takeover. An appeal hearing is scheduled for tomorrow before a state treasury official, who will forward a recommendation to Governor Rick Snyder," Rick Pluta reports.

Mike Rogers considers running for Levin's Senate seat

"Republican U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers says he's seriously considering running for the Michigan U.S. Senate seat that Democrat Carl Levin is vacating next year. The 78-year-old Levin announced Thursday that he wouldn't run again when his current term expires in 2014," the Associated Press reports.

Snyder announces March as "Michigan Maple Syrup Month"

"Gov. Rick Snyder has declared March "Michigan Maple Syrup Month" in honor of the industry's contribution to the state economy. According to the state, Michigan ranks seventh in the U.S. with an average yearly maple syrup production of about 100,000 gallons," the Associated Press reports.

Politics & Government
2:36 pm
Sat March 9, 2013

Romney's older brother interested in Levin seat

The older brother of presidential candidate Mitt Romney is interested in running for the Michigan Senate seat being vacated by Carl Levin in 2014.

A state GOP official said Friday that Scott Romney, 71, is exploring his options with potential supporters. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly about specific candidates.

An attorney, Scott Romney lost the 1998 nomination for attorney general at the Michigan Republican Party's convention. One of his ex-wives, Ronna, ran for the Senate in 1996 but lost to Levin.

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Politics & Government
9:36 am
Sat March 9, 2013

What happened this week? Carl Levin bows out, Detroit EM & same sex marriage challenge

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo Flickr

Each Saturday, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry look at some of the top regional news stories of the week.

Carl Levin won't run for re-election

We got a political bombshell this week when U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) said he won't run for re-election next year. But Lessenberry says this wasn't entirely unexpected. He expects a lot of people to run for Levin's seat including Congressman Gary Peters and Congressman Mike Rodgers.

Detroit prepares for an emergency manager

The Detroit City Council says "not so fast" when it comes to the governor’s appointment of an emergency manager. Mayor Bing says it's too late to resist the appointment. It's just going to happen. Lessenberry says the City Council may well appeal, but he doesn't expect the Governor to reverse his decision. "They are doing a pro-forma thing mainly for political consumption."

A challenge to Michigan's same-sex marriage ban

The discussion of same-sex marriage in Michigan was put on hold after it looked like a federal judge might make a ruling on Michigan’s constitutional amendment. Lessenberry says "no one can really fault U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman for doing this because the U.S. Supreme Court is going to rule on a case in California on a similar law."  He says that way Friedman can craft a ruling that isn't in conflict with the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling.

Jack Lessenberry is Michigan Radio’s political analyst. He joins us Saturday mornings to review the week’s top news stories.

It's Just Politics
3:31 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

This isn't another Levin retrospective... we're talking political implications of his retirement

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

The political chattering class is busy today in Michigan talking about Senator Carl Levin – retiring after three decades in the US Senate. Politicos are remembering a long and distinguished career – a career, we should mention, that is certainly not yet over. Senator Levin still has another 20 months before the end of his term. But if we’re honest – really honest – this announcement kicks off the insider talk about who will run to replace him. Right now, that’s a delicate subject: sort of like talking about what’s in the will while you’re still at the funeral. But, the plotting has already begun… this is politics, after all.

It would be somewhat uncouth - slightly tacky - for anyone to publicly express interest in the seat this soon. But, let’s just say, anyone who has not taken themselves out is either in or thinking about it. On the Democratic side, we’ve got Congressman Gary Peters and Democratic National Committeewoman and southeast Michigan power broker Debbie Dingell. On the Republican side we’ve got Congressman Justin Amash, former Sectary of State Terri Lynn Land and Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley.

Calley, however, is in a bit of an awkward position if his name keeps getting mentioned.  Attorney General Bill Schuette made sure he took his own name out of consideration very quickly. For his office, like lieutenant governor and secretary of state, the nomination is made at a party convention. If Schuette, Calley or Secretary of State Ruth Johnson keep popping up on people’s lists of possible Senate candidates, that invites an effort for other contenders for their jobs to organize a convention challenge – which is just a couple thousand people; something that’s do-able for a lot of people who might not have the wherewithal to organizer a primary campaign. So, some possible contenders really have to decide quickly: fish or cut bait. It may be an honor to be mentioned… but that doesn’t necessarily make it a good thing.

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Opinion
8:25 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Commentary: Carl Levin bows out

Jack Lessenberry's essay "Levin Bows Out"

When I heard yesterday afternoon that Senator Carl Levin was not going to run for reelection, the first  thing that popped into my mind was a line from Macbeth.

"Nothing in his life became him like the leaving it."

That doesn’t exactly fit here, though the way in which he chose to leave the Senate was as classy as his spotless  career.

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Roundup
7:45 am
Fri March 8, 2013

What's up this morning? Levin retiring, Flint wants back taxes, Consumers explosion review

Morning News Roundup, Friday, March 8, 2013
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

U.S. Senator Carl Levin announced his retirement

Saying he wants to focus on his last two years in the Senate without the distraction of a campaign, Sen. Carl Levin announced he would not seek re-election in 2014.

The Washington Post wrote "don't let his rumpled suits or avuncular glasses fool you..."

Levin is ready for a fight.

The former civil-rights lawyer is famous for his deep policy knowledge - he spends more than 20 hours getting ready for hearings so he'll "know when the B.S. is flying," and he nailed George W. Bush administration officials with his precise questioning.
As Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, Levin has spearheaded some key proposals on national security. He fought tirelessly to end the Iraq war, which he opposed from the start.

Flint tries to collect unpaid taxes

Flint is trying to cut into a $19 million budget deficit. Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody reports the city hopes to collect on past taxes:

To chip away at part of that, city officials plan to pressure people who haven’t paid their city income taxes for a while. The city estimates that it’s owed between $300,000 and $400,000 in unpaid income taxes for just 2010.

Consumers Energy halts drilling practice after explosion

The Associated Press reports Consumers Energy says it has halted projects throughout Michigan that involve the same drilling method used before a deadly Detroit-area house explosion. Consumers Energy says employees and contractors are conducting a review of projects involving boring. Fifty-eight-year-old Daniel Malczynski died in the Royal Oak blast last month.

Breaking
8:23 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Michigan Sen. Carl Levin announces he will not seek re-election in 2014

U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI).
Jeffrey Simms Photography Flickr

Update 8:23 p.m.

President Obama released this statement about Sen. Carl Levin's announcement:

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 Senator Carl Levin. No one has worked harder to bring manufacturing jobs back to our shores, close unfair tax loopholes, and ensure that everyone plays by the same set of rules. As chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Senator Levin is a true champion for all those who serve, and his tireless work will be missed not just in his home state of Michigan, but by military families across our country. Michelle and I wish Carl, Barbara and their family all the best, and I look forward to working with Carl over the next two years as we continue tackling some of our nation’s toughest challenges.

5:32 p.m.

U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) announced that he will not seek re-election in 2014.

Levin has been serving in the U.S. 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.

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Politics & Government
11:35 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Commentary: Will Levin run?

Lessenberry commentary for 2/5/13

When Carl Levin was first elected to the U.S. Senate, Barack Obama was a 17-year-old high school senior.

That was more than 34 years ago. Today, of course, not only has that high school boy become President, he has run in his last election. But not only is Carl Levin still in the Senate, he may very well run for a seventh term next year.

And politicians of both parties are anxiously waiting to find out. Democrats, perhaps a little more anxiously than Republicans. Here’s why. If Carl Levin runs, they automatically hold the seat.

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Politics & Government
8:30 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

Despite sometimes making the “wrong bet” Senator Levin supports renewable energy subsidies

US Senator Carl Levin at a public appearance at Grand Rapids Community College Thursday afternoon.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

US Senator Carl Levin says the federal government needs to invest in renewable energy companies, even if those investments sometimes go bad. Levin made the remarks during a visit to Grand Rapids Community College today.

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Politics & Government
6:50 pm
Wed July 4, 2012

43 years later, a Vietnam veteran gets his Purple Heart

Senator Carl Levin, left, awards Arnold Spencer the Purple Heart.
Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

A Vietnam veteran finally received one of the nation's highest military honors on this Independence Day.

Arnold Spencer got his Purple Heart more than four decades after he was wounded in the leg and refused medical evacuation.

Spencer was only 19 years old when he served as an artillery forward observer in an infantry unit in Vietnam.   

He was wounded in a firefight, but turned down a medical evacuation, allowing a more seriously-injured soldier to go in his place, and returned to his unit.

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