Sander Levin

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Sander Levin
Sander Levin, Official Portrait.JPG
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 9th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by Gary Peters
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 12th district
In office
January 3, 1993 – January 3, 2013
Preceded by David Bonior
Succeeded by John Dingell
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 17th district
In office
January 3, 1983 – January 3, 1993
Preceded by William M. Brodhead
Succeeded by District eliminated
Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means
In office
March 4, 2010 – January 3, 2011
Preceded by Charlie Rangel
Succeeded by Dave Camp
Personal details
Born Sander Martin Levin
(1931-09-06) September 6, 1931 (age 83)
Detroit, Michigan
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Vicki Levin (deceased) (1958–2008)
Pamela Cole (2012–present)
Relations Carl Levin (Brother)
Residence Royal Oak, Michigan
Alma mater University of Chicago
Columbia University
Harvard Law School
Occupation attorney
Religion Judaism

Sander Martin "Sandy" Levin (born September 6, 1931) is an American politician who has served in the United States House of Representatives since 1983. Levin, a member of the Democratic Party from Michigan, is the ranking member on the House Ways and Means Committee; he was Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee from 2010 to 2011.

Levin's district includes many of Detroit's northern and northeastern suburbs, such as Mount Clemens, Southfield, Clinton Township, Warren, Fraser, Sterling Heights, Eastpointe and St. Clair Shores. Since 2013, he has represented Michigan's 9th congressional district; previously he represented Michigan's 12th congressional district. He is the older brother of U.S. Senator Carl Levin.

Early life, education, and early political career[edit]

Levin was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Bess (née Levinson) and Saul R. Levin. 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.

After developing a private law practice, Levin served in the Michigan Senate from 1965 to 1970, and was Senate Minority Leader 1969–1970. He made unsuccessful campaigns for Governor of Michigan in 1970 and 1974, 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.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]


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,[1] 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.[2] 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%.[3] In a 1994 rematch, Levin again defeated this same opponent, during the midst of the Republican Revolution, 52%-47%.[4] Then again in 1996, Levin defeated Pappageorge by a larger margin in a third rematch 57%-41%.[5] In 1998, Levin won re-election against Republican nominee Leslie A. Touma, 56%-42%.[6] 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.[7] The 2000s redistricting added heavily Democratic Southfield and Mount Clemens to the district, and he has won re-election in every election with at least 61% of the vote since then.[8]


After redistricting, Levin was drawn into the same district as fellow U.S. Congressman Gary Peters (D-MI).[9] The district retained Peters' district number—the 9th—but geographically is more Levin's district. Peters opted to run in the newly redrawn 14th District.[10] In 2008, Obama won the 9th district with 59% of the vote, while he won statewide with 57%. Levin now represents the 12th congressional district which picks up Oak Park, Berkley, Madison Heights, Clawson, Royal Oak, and Troy, but former portions were moved over into the adjacent 11th District to the west to now include Southfield Township, Beverly Hills, Bloomfield Township Birmingham, and portions of Royal Oak.[11]

Committee assignments[edit]

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.[12] He served as chairman until January, 2011, and currently serves as the committee's ranking member.

Personal life[edit]

His wife of 50 years, Vicki, died on September 4, 2008. They had four children and ten grandchildren.

In July 2012, Levin married Pamela Cole, age 61, a Pennsylvania State University psychology professor who studies emotional development, in a private ceremony. 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.[13]

Levin comes from a family that has long been prominent in Michigan politics. His younger brother Carl Levin is currently the state's senior U.S. Senator. 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, was the 2006 Democratic candidate for the Michigan Senate in the 13th Senate District, losing in a tight race to John Pappageorge.[14]

Electoral history[edit]

Michigan's 17th congressional district: Results 1982–1990[15][16]
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[15][16]
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–[17]
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%


  1. ^ "MI District 17 - D Primary Race - Aug 03, 1982". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 21, 2011. 
  2. ^ "MI District 17 Race - Nov 02, 1982". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 21, 2011. 
  3. ^ "MI District 12 Race - Nov 03, 1992". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 21, 2011. 
  4. ^ "MI District 12 Race - Nov 08, 1994". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 21, 2011. 
  5. ^ "MI District 12 Race - Nov 05, 1996". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 21, 2011. 
  6. ^ "MI District 12 Race - Nov 03, 1998". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 21, 2011. 
  7. ^ "MI District 12 Race - Nov 07, 2000". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 21, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Candidate - Sander Levin". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 21, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Sander Levin pans Republican redistricting map". Associated Press. June 28, 2011. Retrieved December 21, 2011. 
  10. ^ McCarty, Alicia (November 8, 2011). "A look ahead to the key races in the Midwest in 2012". USA Today. 
  11. ^ "Congressional District 9 - Redistricting (MI-09)". Republican Michigander. June 30, 2011. Retrieved December 21, 2011. 
  12. ^ OHLEMACHER, Stephen; MARGASAK, Larry (March 4, 2010). "Levin is acting chair of Ways and Means panel". Washington Post. Retrieved March 4, 2010. [dead link]
  13. ^ Kaner, David. "Rep. Levin marries Penn State professor". The Hill. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  14. ^ [1][dead link]
  15. ^ a b "Office of the House Clerk – Electoral Statistics". Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. 
  16. ^ a b "Election Results". Federal Election Commission. 
  17. ^

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
William Brodhead
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 17th congressional district

District eliminated
Preceded by
David Bonior
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 12th congressional district

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

Political offices
Preceded by
Charles Rangel
New York
Chairman of House Ways and Means Committee
Succeeded by
Dave Camp
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Marcy Kaptur
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Joe Barton