Democratic Sen. Carl Levin announced over break that he will not be running for re-election in 2014.
Levin is the longest serving Michigan senator — he will end his term with 34 years in the nation’s highest legislative body.
Levin said in a statement that the decision — which had been speculated at — was hard for him because he enjoyed his position, but thinks he will be able to accomplish more in his position without re-election looming over his head.
“Our country is at a crossroads that will determine our economic health and security for decades to come,” Levin said. “(I) decided that I can best serve my state and nation by concentrating in the next two years on the challenging issues before us that I am in a position to help address.”
Two current targets are to reform tax loopholes and tax avoidances to help decrease the nation’s budget deficit.
“Thirty of our most profitable companies paid no taxes over a recent three-year period although they had over $150 billion in profits,” Levin said. “Tax avoidance schemes that have no economic justification or purpose other than to avoid paying taxes may be legal, but they should not be.”
The top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Levin said he also wants to focus on military readiness, maintaining the growth in Michigan manufacturing, and putting a stop to using unreported money to fund political campaigns.
“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 said. “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.”
President Barack Obama said the senator’s presence will be missed after these next two years by the whole country, not just Michigan.
“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,” Obama said in a statement.
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder also commended Levin’s work in Washington.
“(Levin) effectively brought the needs and concerns of Michiganders to the halls of the Capitol,” the governor said in a statement. “His service on behalf of Michigan and America is commendable. On behalf of our entire state, I applaud Sen. Levin for his dedication and wish him a healthy, fulfilling retirement.”
U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) has served in Congress since 1955, making him the longest serving congressman in U.S. history. As a fellow Democrat, Dingell said Levin’s work ethic will be missed in the state caucus.
“Carl is a giant, and he and his service have been of enormous value to the people of Michigan and this nation,” Dingell said.