Former Michigan Sen. Carl Levin dies at 87

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Former Sen. Carl Levin.
Former Sen. Carl Levin. Win McNamee/Getty Images

Carl Levin, Michigan's longest-serving senator, died on Thursday. He was 87.

In a statement, Levin's family said that "whether he was chairing a hearing on critical national security issues or working on behalf of his home state, he believed that collaboration and compromise served our common purpose better than partisanship and political brinkmanship."

Levin, a Democrat, represented Michigan in the Senate from 1979 until his retirement in 2015. Before going to Congress, the Harvard Law graduate worked at the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, was a public defender in his hometown of Detroit, and sat on the Detroit City Council.

During his time in the Senate, Levin pushed for tax reform and the creation of more manufacturing jobs in the United States, raised pay for military members, and voted against the Iraq War. Levin's memoir, Getting to the Heart of the Matter, was released earlier this year, and in the book he shared that because he was once a local official, "I understand the importance of responding to people in need, listening to even the smallest voice, and working hard on behalf of the people with honesty, integrity, and civility."

Politics is a Levin family affair — his older brother, Sander Levin, was a longtime Democratic congressman, representing Michigan's 9th Congressional District, and his nephew Rep. Andy Levin (D) now holds that seat. Levin is survived by his wife, Barbara, and daughters Erica, Laura, and Kate.

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