Thursday, March 7, 2013

Michigan Democratic Senator Carl Levin Annouces His Retirement

U. S. Senator Carl Levin, D- Michigan
By Brody Levesque | WASHINGTON -- The senior Senator who shepherded the repeal of the U. S. military ban on openly gay & lesbian service-members through the U. S. Senate as chairman of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, has announced that he will retire at the end of this term in 2014.

Michigan Democrat Carl Levin, a lawyer by training and a former Detroit City Councilman first entered the Senate in 1979, and has been a significant force for progressives on Capitol Hill. 
On LGBTQ issues although he had voted to pass DOMA in 1996, however, he later voted against a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in 2006. He has supported ENDA, the Matthew Shepard-James Byrd Hate Crimes Act, along with his vote for the repeal of DADT.
In 2010, the Human Rights Campaign gave Levin a 96% rating.
Levin, made his announcement Thursday ending months of speculation and denials by his senate staffers although Levin himself had repeatedly publicly said that he hadn't made up his mind.
In a brief statement released by his office, the 78 year old Senator said;
"I can best serve my state and my nation by concentrating in the next two years on the challenging issues before us … in other words, by doing my job without the distraction of campaigning for re-election."
He added that he wanted to concentrate on passing laws that target off shore tax avoidance schemes, ensure that "the manufacturing renaissance that has led to Michigan's economic comeback continues." 
He also said he would continue to fight hard to ensure military readiness despite the fiscal pressures being felt by the Pentagon.
"These issues will have an enormous impact on the people of Michigan and the nation for years to come and we need to confront them," Levin wrote. "I can think of no better way to spend the next two years than to devote all of my energy and attention to taking on these challenges."
Levin's retirement may come at a bad time for Democrats as they look for a strong candidate to take on Republican Gov. Rick Snyder who has indicated interest in a run for a senate seat, but Michigan traditionally has had few Republicans succeed at winning U.S. Senate seats.