The long-time Democratic representative of the United States Sander Levin of Royal Oak has decided not to seek re-election to a 19th term, said the Saturday. [19659005] "I just thought the time had come, I thought I would look for other ways to continue the efforts I've been involved in," Levin said in an interview.

"I'm happy about this, I think I've been lucky enough to be able to serve and represent people in Michigan for 35 years, so I'm happy to have had that opportunity."

Levin, 86, plans to join the University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the end of his term in Congress, where he hopes to write and teach something, he said.

"They want me to talk to school students about leadership, because they say they teach and teach all of these courses and really want students to talk more about how they implement what they have learned," Levin said.

"I decided it was smart to give the opportunity to someone else," he said.

He planned to make the retirement announcement on Sunday at his party at Royal Oak.

Levin has among his accomplishments in the House his impulse. to defeat efforts to privatize Social Security and help rescue the automobile industry with a federal bailout eight years ago, he also chaired the Ways and Means Committee when he pbaded the federal health care law in 2009.

Has worked on issues for 25 years, working to "make sure that globalization works not just for a few but for many." He said.

With former Rep. Charlie Rangel, New York Democrat, Levin in 2007 authored what is known as the May 10 Agreement, a bipartisan agreement that establishes applicable labor and environmental standards in trade agreements. Rangel retired last quarter.

Levin has also been involved this year in matters related to the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and argues that any broad tax reform focuses on helping the middle clbad rather than the rich.

"I can understand why people want to go ahead if they like it, and I've loved public service," he said.

Representative Dan Kildee, D-Flint Township, said he has "respected Sandy since my first days in politics."

"Having the opportunity to serve with him in Congress has been an incredible honor, Sandy is not just a colleague, he is a mentor and a dear friend," Kildee said.

"I will never forget that Sandy was one of the first members of Congress to come to Flint and help residents recover from the water crisis, their devotion to public service is unwavering."

U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, called Levin "a champion for Michigan and the working families he represents."

"He embodies what it means to be a public servant, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve alongside him," Dingell said in a statement. "John Dingell and I wish him all the best and we hope to see everything he achieves in his next chapter."

Levin, a lawyer by profession, has represented different parts of suburban Detroit since the early 1980s, when his district included Inkster and Dearborn Heights. He was often forced to change districts during the redesign of the congressional district lines every decade, but he always survived.

Levin attributes his long and successful career in public life to family values ​​and the strong sense of community he learned from his parents, he said.

"I have had the opportunity to take those values, and I think that people, even if they disagreed with me, I think they have understood that I have tried to bring those values ​​of the community into the district," Levin said.

Retirement questions revolved in the last few months after Levin reported raising only $ 17,000 in the last reporting period and a total of $ 101,931 for the year.

Potential candidates

Congressman Andy Levin's son from Bloomfield Township is among those who could stand for the seat when his father retires. Andy Levin refused to discuss the situation on Saturday.

"Andy, I think it would be great, but he and Mary have to make that decision, he's very much his own person," Sandy Levin said of her son and daughter-in-law.

Another potential candidate for the seat is Democratic state Senator Steve Bieda of Warren, who in a statement praising Levin did not say whether he would seek the seat.

"He is a true statesman whose disinterested dedication to the concerns of the working clbad and a strong commitment to national security has created a legacy that will continue well beyond his departure from the elected office," Bieda said. "On a personal note, I have always admired Sandy and appreciated her common decency and friendship."

Kevin Howley, who ran for the Oakland County executive, said he is also considering the race.

Republicans reiterated on Saturday that they intend to target the district. The spokesman for the Republican National Committee of Congress, Matt Gorman, said: "We hope to compete aggressively to turn this seat into red in 2018."

Notably, Levin won re-election by almost 21 percentage points and Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton won the district in the 2016 presidential contest, although President Donald Trump improved Mitt Romney's margins since 2012. [19659005] Republican businesswoman Candius Stearns of Sterling Heights has already declared her candidacy in the district and on Saturday she received the backing of US Rep. Paul Mitchell, R -Dryden.

Zach Gorchow, editor of the Gongwer political news service, described the NRCC's response as perplexing.

"It's a solidly democratic district that practically does not have a Republican bank to tie," he said. Clinton winning the district by 8 points "should indicate that they have no shot there."

Regret of the collapse of bipartisanship

Levin has been a member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee for almost 30 years.

He was the leading Democrat on the panel from 2010 to 2016 until he resigned a year ago. He was succeeded by Representative Richard Neal of Mbadachusetts, who on Saturday called Levin a "fierce champion of workers, a fighter for fair trade agreements and a voice for middle clbad families."

"Congress will miss the presence and guidance from Sandy, and I will personally miss my dear colleague and friend, "Neal said in a statement.

Levin has missed his younger brother Carl, a veteran US senator who retired late. of 2014. They are the brother duo that has been with Congress the longest, covering 32 years.

"We talk almost every day. I had a button on my phone to call Carl. It took me a month, and maybe two months, not to push the button after he retired, "Sandy Levin said.

He laments the collapse of bipartisanship in Washington, recalling the first days of his career in Congress when the environment was more collegiate.

He recalled that every third or fourth weekend, many members of the House took their children to the gymnasium of the House.

"I can remember (then Rep. Of Ohio) Rob Portman had a Little canoe in the pool that our children played, including Rob's children. We play basketball with our children, "said Levin.

" He was very unpartisan. A lot of that feeling went away. It needs to be revived. … We have to renew a lot of effort to get the facts and consult widely and try to work together. "

Career in public service

Levin was an activist From his youth, he became president of his clbad at Central High School and later president of student government at the University of Chicago, where he participated actively in Students for Democratic Action, which he was elected to lead nationally in 1952. [19659005] Levin continued to pursue a master's degree in international relations from Columbia University and a bachelor's degree in law from Harvard University.

He became involved in the civil rights movement and voter registration campaigns in the South, where met with Representative John Lewis in Clarksdale, Mississippi, 1971.

"We have an image of me and him then, and he has a lot of hair, and I only have black hair", d I joke Levin, laughing because Lewis is bald now and Levin has white hair.

Levin also organized exchanges where students from the South would come to Detroit to spend summers working in the automotive industry.

He served in the state Senate from 1965-70 and twice unsuccessfully ran for governor as the Democratic candidate in the 1970s.

Prior to joining Congress in 1983, Levin was an badistant administrator in the Agency of International Development of the United States.

He and Vicki Schlafer were married for 50 years until his death in 2008. He married Pamela Cole in 2012.

When he retires, Levin will no longer have to come and go between three places. He will cut Washington and simply go between Michigan and Pennsylvania, where Cole is a professor at Pennsylvania State University.

"This will continue to be home," he said.

Jonathan Oosting contributed [19659006] mburke@detroitnews.com

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