Life after Congress is keeping him busy.
Losing his re-election battle for the U.S. House of Representatives was far from the end of the road for Andy Levin. The Bloomfield Township resident recently accepted a position as distinguished senior fellow at the Center for American Progress (CAP), based in Washington, D.C.
At CAP, Levin will focus on connections between economic growth and democratic accountability, both in the U.S. and around the world. He will also help guide CAP’s work to implement the infrastructure law, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act.
“I’m so thrilled to join CAP to help develop and disseminate policies designed to make our nation and world more just across the board — racially, economically, socially, environmentally,” he said.
Levin served two terms in Congress, starting in 2019. When Michigan lost one of its House seats in redistricting before the last election, he was forced to run against Haley Stevens, another strong Democrat.
Levin, 62, is the son of Sander Levin, who served 36 years in the House, and the nephew of the late Carl Levin, who served the same number of years in the U.S. Senate. But although the worth of public service was something drilled into the Levin children, elected office was never seen as any kind of family destiny.
Andy Levin sought election because of the values his family instilled, “not because it’s something my father did,” he said, noting that there are myriad ways to work for the public good.
In addition to his work at CAP, Levin says he will become more involved with Lean & Green Michigan, which he helped start in 2012. The organization helps commercial, industrial, multifamily, nonprofit and agricultural property owners find ways to finance projects that foster energy efficiency, water conservation and renewable energy. It has been headed by Levin’s wife, Mary Freeman, since Levin started working in government.
Before being elected to Congress, Levin served as deputy director and acting director of Michigan’s Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth, and as Michigan’s first chief workforce officer. During the Clinton administration, he worked in the U.S. Department of Labor. He also worked with several large unions to protect workers’ rights.
Levin is an honors graduate of Williams College and holds a law degree from Harvard and a master’s in Asian languages and cultures from the University of Michigan, where he was a Mellon fellow.
Levin’s new job will enable him to live in Michigan while spending a few days a week in Washington, where he maintains an apartment. His youngest child, Molly, 17, still lives at home. A senior at International Academy, she hopes to study classical vocal performance in college.
His older children have left the nest. Koby, 29, is a reporter for Chalkbeat Detroit, an online news service. Saul, 27, is a policy advisor to U.S. Rep. Cory Bush in St. Louis. Ben, 25, is a nanny in Boston.
At Lean & Green Michigan, Levin is promoting the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) model, an innovative mechanism for financing energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements on private property. PACE programs help recover land occupied by decommissioned coal-burning power plants and turn it over to the public by having it become part of national or state parks or conservation areas.
He’s also looking to preserve the union jobs those plants once provided through the creation of new jobs in clean energy production and storage.
Seventy-four percent of Michiganders live in a county served by one of these projects, he said.
Levin says his work with CAP and with Lean & Green Michigan are deeply tied to his Jewish values. He is a member of Congregation T’Chiyah in Fermdale, where his parents were founding members, and a founder and former board member of Detroit Jews for Justice, which started at T’Chiyah and is now an independent nonprofit organization.
On May 10, he will receive the Raphael Lemkin Human Rights Award from T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights at its annual banquet in New York. T’ruah says Levin is being honored for his steadfast commitment to protecting workers, fighting climate change and advancing justice and human rights for Israelis and Palestinians as a representative of the United States government.
Levin lost some Jewish support in the 2022 election because of his longtime commitment to a two-state solution to disputes between Israel and the Palestinians, a position he continues to espouse.
While he would, of course, prefer to have won the election, Levin says he has no regrets and is enjoying his life.
“I’m having a really great time,” he said.