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Sander Levin
Sander Levin, Official Portrait.JPG
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan
In office
January 3, 1983 – January 3, 2019
Preceded byWilliam M. Brodhead
Succeeded byAndy Levin
Constituency17th district (1983–1993)
12th district (1993–2013)
9th district (2013–2019)
Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee
In office
March 4, 2010 – January 3, 2011
Preceded byCharlie Rangel
Succeeded byDave Camp
Member of the Michigan Senate
from the 15th district
In office
January 13, 1965 – January 13, 1971
Preceded byJohn W. Fitzgerald
Succeeded byDaniel S. Cooper
Personal details
Sander Martin Levin

(1931-09-06) September 6, 1931 (age 90)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Vicki Schlafer
(m. 1958; died 2008)

Pamela Cole
(m. 2012)
Children4, including Andy
RelativesCarl Levin (brother)
EducationUniversity of Chicago (BA)
Columbia University (MA)
Harvard University (LLB)

Sander Martin Levin (born September 6, 1931) is an American politician who served in the United States House of Representatives from 1983 to 2019, representing Michigan's 9th congressional district (numbered as the 17th District from 1983 to 1993 and as the 12th District from 1993 to 2013). Levin, a member of the Democratic Party from Michigan, is a former ranking member on the House Ways and Means Committee;[1] he was Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee from 2010 to 2011. He is the older brother of former U.S. Senator Carl Levin, and the father of current Congressman Andy Levin, his successor.

In December 2017, Levin announced that he would retire from Congress at the end of his current term, and not seek re-election in 2018.[2] His son Andy was elected on November 6, 2018, and took office in the 116th Congress, which commenced on January 3, 2019.

Early life and education

Levin was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Jewish parents Bess Rachel (née Levinson) and Saul R. Levin.[3] He graduated from Central High School in Detroit, received a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago in 1952, a Master's degree in international relations from Columbia University in 1954, and a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1957. Afterwards, he developed a private practice in Detroit.

State politics

Levin was named chairman of the Oakland County Democratic Party in 1962.[4] He was elected as State Senator for the 13th district in 1964, defeating Republican George W. Kuhn.[5] Levin served in the position until 1970.[6] Following the 1967 resignation of Michigan Democratic Party chairman Zolton Ferency, Levin was elected state party chairman on December 17. He resigned his position as minority floor leader the following January.[7] He served as Senate minority leader from January 1969 to January 1970, when he resigned to run for governor.[8]

He made unsuccessful campaigns for Governor of Michigan in 1970 and 1974, both times losing to Republican William Milliken. He was a Fellow of the Harvard Kennedy School in 1975. From 1977 through 1981 he was assistant administrator of the Agency for International Development.[6]

U.S. House of Representatives


In 1982, incumbent Democratic U.S. Congressman William Brodhead decided not to run for re-election, instead making an unsuccessful run for governor. Levin won the Democratic primary in Michigan's 17th congressional district with 49% of the vote,[9] which at that time included northwestern Detroit as well as parts of Macomb and Oakland counties. Levin subsequently won this 1982 general election with 67% of the vote.[10] He typically won re-election with at least 56% of the vote since then, exceptions being 1992 and 1994 elections. After the 1990 United States Census, his district was renumbered as the 12th district and lost its share of Detroit. In 1992, he narrowly defeated businessman and Vietnam War veteran John Pappageorge 53%-46%.[11] In a 1994 rematch, Levin again defeated this same opponent, during the midst of the Republican Revolution, 52%-47%.[12] Then again in 1996, Levin defeated Pappageorge by a larger margin in a third rematch 57%-41%.[13] In 1998, Levin won re-election against Republican nominee Leslie A. Touma, 56%-42%.[14] In 2000, Detroit Metro area businessman Bart Baron gained the endorsement of the United Auto Workers Union, but Levin still managed to win re-election with 64% of the vote.[15] The 2000s redistricting added heavily Democratic Southfield and Mount Clemens to the district, and he won re-election in every election with at least 61% of the vote since.[16]


After redistricting, Levin's district was merged with the 9th District of fellow Democrat Gary Peters.[17] The district retained Peters' district number—the 9th—but geographically was more Levin's district. Peters opted to run in the newly redrawn 14th District.[18] This effectively handed the Democratic nomination to Levin. While he lost Southfield to the 14th, it picked up the rest of Royal Oak, as well as Oak Park, Clawson and Berkley, among other locations. It was no less Democratic than its predecessor, and Levin breezed to a 16th term with 61.4 percent of the vote.

Committee assignments

Levin took over as chairman of the Ways and Means committee on March 4, 2010, when Charles B. Rangel of New York stepped aside in due to a number of ethics violations.[19] Levin served as chairman until January 2011 and ranking member until the end of 2016.[1]

Levin was a member of the House Baltic Caucus[20] and the Congressional Arts Caucus.[21]

Political positions

Foreign policy

As a member of Congress, Levin was a supporter of Israel. He supported the nuclear deal with Iran, and said that Israel, the region, and the world would be more secure under the Iran nuclear deal.[22]

Personal life

His wife of 50 years, Vicki Schlafer, died on September 4, 2008. They had four children: Andy, Jennifer, Madeleine, and Matthew and ten grandchildren.

In a private ceremony in July 2012, Levin married Pamela Cole, age 61, a Pennsylvania State University psychology professor who studies emotional development. They met through his late wife Vicki. Cole and Levin worked to create a fund in her name for young professionals researching early childhood development.[23]

Levin comes from a family that has long been prominent in Michigan politics. His younger brother Carl Levin was the state's senior Senator until his retirement in January 2015. His uncle, Theodore, was a federal judge. His first cousin Charles was a Michigan Supreme Court justice, after serving as a Michigan Court of Appeals judge. Another first cousin, Joseph Levin, was a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives. His son Andy Levin was an unsuccessful candidate for the Michigan Senate in 2006, but in 2018 was elected to succeed him in the United States House of Representatives.[24]

Electoral history

Michigan's 17th congressional district: Results 1982–1990[25][26]
Year Democratic Votes % Republican Votes % Third party Party Votes %
1982 Sander Levin 116,901 67% Gerald Rosen 55,620 32% Virginia Cropsey Libertarian 2,955 2%
1984 Sander Levin 133,064 100% No candidate
1986 Sander Levin 105,031 76% Calvin Williams 30,879 22% Charles Martell Independent 1,477 1%
1988 Sander Levin 135,493 70% Dennis Flessland 55,197 29% Charles Hahn Libertarian 2,333 1%
1990 Sander Levin 92,205 70% Blaine Lankford 40,100 30%
Michigan's 12th congressional district: Results 1992–2010[25][26]
Year Democratic Votes % Republican Votes % Third party Party Votes % Third party Party Votes % Third party Party Votes %
1992 Sander Levin 137,514 53% John Pappageorge 119,357 46% Charles Hahn Libertarian 2,751 1% R. W. Montgomery Natural Law 1,724 1%
1994 Sander Levin 103,508 52% John Pappageorge 92,762 47% Jerome White No party affiliation 1,386 1% Eric Anderson Natural Law 1,340 1%
1996 Sander Levin 133,436 57% John Pappageorge 94,235 41% Albert Titran Libertarian 3,101 1% Gail Petrosoff Natural Law 1,690 1%
1998 Sander Levin 105,824 56% Leslie Touma 79,619 42% Albert Titran Libertarian 2,813 1% Fred Rosenberg Natural Law 1,172 1%
2000 Sander Levin 157,720 64% Bart Baron 78,795 32% Thomas Ness Green 4,137 2% Andrew LeCureaux Libertarian 3,630 1% Fred Rosenberg Natural Law 887 0%
2002 Sander Levin 140,970 68% Harvey Dean 61,502 30% Dick Gach Libertarian 2,694 1% Steven Revis U.S. Taxpayers 1,362 1%
2004 Sander Levin 210,827 69% Randell Shafer 88,256 29% Dick Gach Libertarian 5,051 2%
2006 Sander Levin 168,494 71% Randell Shafer 62,689 26% Andrew LeCureaux Libertarian 3,259 1% Jerome White No party affiliation 1,862 1% Art Myatt Green 1,735 1%
2008 Sander Levin 225,094 72% Bert Copple 74,565 24% John Vico Libertarian 4,767 2% Les Townsend U.S. Taxpayers 4,076 1% William Opalicky Green 3,842 1%
2010 Sander Levin 124,671 61% Don Volaric 71,372 35% Julia Williams Green 3,038 1% Leonard Schwartz Libertarian 2,342 1% Les Townsend U.S. Taxpayers 2,285 1% *
Michigan's 9th congressional district: Results 2012–[27][28]
Year Democratic Votes % Republican Votes % Third party Party Votes % Third party Party Votes % Third party Party Votes %
2012 Sander Levin 208,846 62% Don Volaric 114,760 34% Jim Fulner Libertarian 6,100 2% Julia Williams Green 4,708 1% Les Townsend U.S. Taxpayers 2,902 1%
2014 Sander Levin 136,342 60% George Brikho 81,470 36% Gregory Creswell Libertarian 4,792 2% John McDermott Green 3,153 1%
2016 Sander Levin 199,661 58% Christopher Morse 128,937 37% Matthew Orlando Libertarian 9,563 3% John McDermott Green 6,614 2%

See also


  1. ^ a b Caygle, Heather; Becker, Bernie (November 11, 2010). "Becerra vies for Ways and Means post as Levin steps aside". Politico. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
  2. ^ Peterson, Kristina (December 2, 2017). "Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan to Retire". The Wall Street Journal.
  3. ^ Who's who in Government. November 1977. ISBN 9780837912035.
  4. ^ "Levin to Head Oakland Dems". Detroit Free Press. January 19, 1962. p. 2. Retrieved September 29, 2020 – via
  5. ^ "Scliweigert vs. Schneider in State's 37th District". The Evening News. Saulte Ste. Marie. Associated Press. September 3, 1964. p. 5. Retrieved September 29, 2020.
  6. ^ a b "LEVIN, Sander Martin (1931-)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. United States Congress. Retrieved September 29, 2020.
  7. ^ "Levin Resigns Senate Dem Post". The Times Herald. Associated Press. January 11, 1968. Retrieved September 29, 2020 – via
  8. ^ "Quits Senate minority post". Battle Creek Enquirer. Associated Press. January 12, 1970. Retrieved September 29, 2020 – via
  9. ^ "MI District 17 - D Primary Race - Aug 03, 1982". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 21, 2011.
  10. ^ "MI District 17 Race - Nov 02, 1982". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 21, 2011.
  11. ^ "MI District 12 Race - Nov 03, 1992". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 21, 2011.
  12. ^ "MI District 12 Race - Nov 08, 1994". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 21, 2011.
  13. ^ "MI District 12 Race - Nov 05, 1996". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 21, 2011.
  14. ^ "MI District 12 Race - Nov 03, 1998". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 21, 2011.
  15. ^ "MI District 12 Race - Nov 07, 2000". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 21, 2011.
  16. ^ "Candidate - Sander Levin". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 21, 2011.
  17. ^ "Sander Levin pans Republican redistricting map". Associated Press. June 28, 2011. Retrieved December 21, 2011.
  18. ^ McCarty, Alicia (November 8, 2011). "A look ahead to the key races in the Midwest in 2012". USA Today.
  19. ^ Ohlemacher, Stephen; Margasak, Larry (March 4, 2010). "Levin is acting chairman of Ways and Means panel". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 4, 2010.[dead link]
  20. ^ "Members". House Baltic Caucus. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  21. ^ "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  22. ^ Tamar Pileggi (July 28, 2015). "Prominent Jewish Democratic lawmaker backs Iran deal". The Times of Israel. Associated Press. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  23. ^ Kaner, David (August 8, 2012). "Rep. Levin marries Penn State professor". The Hill. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
  24. ^ Duffy, Vincent. "Andy Levin declares victory in 9th Congressional Democratic race". Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  25. ^ a b "Office of the House Clerk – Electoral Statistics". Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. Archived from the original on July 30, 2008.
  26. ^ a b "Election Results". Federal Election Commission. pp. 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008.
  27. ^ Ruth Johnson, Secretary of State. "Election Results: General Election November 06, 2012". Michigan Department of State. Archived from the original on January 16, 2013. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  28. ^ "2016 Michigan Election Results". Michigan Department of State. Retrieved May 27, 2017.

External links

Michigan Senate
Preceded by
John W. Fitzgerald
Member of the Michigan Senate
from the 15th district

Succeeded by
Daniel S. Cooper
Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic nominee for Governor of Michigan
1970, 1974
Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 17th congressional district

Constituency abolished
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 12th congressional district

Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 9th congressional district

Succeeded by
Preceded by Chair of the Joint China Commission
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee
Succeeded by
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Representative Order of precedence of the United States
as Former US Representative
Succeeded byas Former US Representative
This page was last edited on 5 July 2022, at 05:12
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