Last week, U.S. Sen. Carl Levin passed away at the age of 87. Levin was the longest-serving U.S. senator in the state’s history, with a career in Washington spanning 36 years from 1979 until his retirement in 2015.
“He really died on his own terms. It was beautiful really, although it was super sad … He died as humbly and gracefully as he lived.” –Rep. Andy Levin, MI-9
Listen: Rep. Andy Levin on his uncle Carl Levin’s legacy.
Rep. Andy Levin is a Democrat representing Michigan’s 9th District, and is the nephew of the late Sen. Carl Levin. He says his uncle did amazingly well after his lung cancer diagnosis in 2018, which Carl Levin had mentioned in his recently published memoir. “He really died on his own terms. It was beautiful really, although it was super sad … He died as humbly and gracefully as he lived.” Levin says his father, Sander “Sandy” Levin, and his uncle Carl Levin served together for 32 years, the longest-serving siblings in Congress. “I’ve never seen two closer human beings than Sandy Levin and Carl Levin. And it just is my model for how to treat people in the world.”
Levin says he and Carl Levin had differing views on some policies such as the Senate filibuster, but Carl would never discount his ideas. “The way Uncle Carl respected my space when I became a member of Congress … We did debate the filibuster, oh my goodness,” Rep. Levin says. “He didn’t yell at me, he didn’t hector me. He would say, ‘Did you see this? Did you read this?’” Rep. Levin says although he is a fierce opponent to the filibuster and Carl Levin was a fierce defender of it, he respected his uncle’s integrity. “I think Uncle Carl is my window into the idea of the Senate as this great deliberative body,” he says. “I give tremendous credit to him personally for the way that he advanced the idea of reaching across the aisle.”