Carl Milton Levin

Contact Information

Telephone:202-224-6221 (Main phone number)
Campaign finance

Candidate Background

Birth place:Detroit, MI
Residence:Detroit, MI
First Elected: 


Status:Not seeking re-election
Next Election:2014

Undergraduate education: Swarthmore College


Graduate education: Harvard University


Carl Levin was born in Detroit, where he still resides. He earned a bachelor's degree from Swarthmore College and a law degree from Harvard University.

Levin became an assistant attorney general in 1964, handling civil rights cases. The 1967 Detroit race riots prompted him to run for the Detroit City Council, where he served from 1970 to 1978.

He also has taught at Wayne State University and the University of Detroit.

Levin was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1978.

Levin and his wife, Barbara Halpern, have three daughters.


Carl Levin, a popular political figure in Michigan, is the Democratic chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He is the longest serving U.S. senator in Michigan's history and for many years has been an advocate for his home state's auto industry.

Levin first was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1978 and was re-elected to his sixth term in 2008. He has balanced his work on military affairs with a careful eye on the manufacturing sector and an interest in the government's function as a watchdog over waste and corruption.

He spearheaded efforts in 2008 and 2009 to secure billions in government loans for General Motors and Chrysler to avoid bankruptcy. Levin also pushed for the Senate to fund a $25 billion federal loan program to help automakers retool their plants to build green vehicles.

Levin still carries a faded United Auto Workers membership card from 1953 in his wallet, a reminder of his days as a line worker at a Ford tractor factory. With Michigan's auto industry in turmoil, Levin worked to line up government support to stabilize domestic carmakers.

He said the government funding was needed to save the domestic auto industry and the hundreds of thousands of jobs connected to it during the economic downturn.

Levin has been a leading Democratic voice on military affairs, which gave him a major role in his party's efforts to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.

In 2011, Levin was at an airport in Detroit when he received a call from Defense Secretary Robert Gates informing him of the U.S. military operation that resulted in terror mastermind Osama bin Laden's death. When Levin arrived in the Washington area around 2 a.m., he and his wife, Barbara, headed to the White House to join the hundreds who joyously gathered outside the president's mansion. Levin said he and his wife wanted to see "the young people pouring their hearts out."

After Pakistan reopened crucial NATO supply lines to Afghanistan, Levin said in July 2012 that $1.1 billion in U.S. funds that had been held up should be released to the country. "They don't deserve it," he told reporters. "What they've done is presumably earned it by the amount of money they've laid out in terms of their anti-terrorist activity and protecting our lines."

In February 2012, Levin and Sen. Kent Conrad introduced legislation that would help reduce the budget deficit and pay for important priorities by closing tax loopholes that come at the expense of working families.

On a Senate oversight panel he leads, Levin has fought offshore tax abuse, which was estimated to cost the U.S. $100 billion a year in lost tax revenue. Levin has pushed legislation to tighten U.S. tax laws and close loopholes to fight offshore tax haven abuses and pressed Switzerland's biggest bank to disclose the names of Americans who hold offshore bank accounts and don't pay U.S. taxes on their assets.

He supported the 2008 economic bailout because he said it was needed to get the nation's economy back on track. But he has cited a double-standard with the government's bailout of insurance giant AIG in 2009, where dozens of executives were to receive large bonuses and its support of domestic automakers, where auto workers renegotiated their contracts to help their companies stay afloat.

Levin is the younger brother of Rep. Sander "Sandy" Levin, who has served in the U.S. House since 1983 and has a liberal voting record on many social issues that can be attributed to his family's strong sense of helping the underdog. Levin has supported an expansion of the children's health insurance program, funding for stem-cell research and a woman's right to have an abortion under the guidelines of Roe v. Wade.

Committee Assignments: Armed Services(Chair); Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; Select Intelligence; Small Business and Entrepreneurship

American Conservative Union Rating: 0

Americans for Democratic Action Rating: 95


Carl Levin is not seeking re-election in 2014.

(Last updated by The Associated Press on August 6, 2014.)

Last updated 3:16pm March 1, 2018