There’s only one member of Congress who’s raised workers’ wages and improved benefits as a union organizer, fought climate change as the founder of a green energy company and created the largest job-retraining program in the country as the head of a state workforce agency. His name is Andy Levin.
Inspired by his family’s values of public service and activism, Andy has dedicated his career to championing the working class, human rights and clean energy. And with the colliding crises of the pandemic and ensuing public health emergency, racial injustice and climate change, his life’s work has never been more urgent.
He’s helped lead the Congressional Progressive Caucus in the House of Representatives as an original cosponsor of Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. And we need to keep this decisive, effective, creative leader in Washington — where he’s proven that he knows how to get things done.
Effective, Progressive Champion for Oakland County
Andy is laser-focused on doing everything he can to lift up Michigan families and create good-paying, union jobs. He helped bring over 217,000 jobs back home to Michigan by voting to pass the American Rescue Plan and the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. As a union organizer, he is one of the leading voices for the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which would be the most pro-labor legislation in almost a century and ensure the right of private-sector workers to form a union and bargain collectively.
As a two-time cancer survivor and the father of two sons living with Crohn’s disease, he has taken on Big Pharma and insurance companies to champion Medicare for All and lower prescription drug prices. And he’s brought his expertise as a green energy entrepreneur to the fight to save our one precious Earth with the Green New Deal.
As he fights for unapologetically bold policies to tackle our most urgent needs, he also finds ways to work across the aisle and pass bills that improve the lives and futures of Oakland County families. In his first term, he passed 40 measures through the House and was one of the top freshman lawmakers to amend and improve legislation.
He’s written bipartisan bills to bring more transparency to U.S. diplomacy, lower the cost of prescription drug prices, condemn the coup in Burma and make it easier for workers to form a union in a pandemic with electronic elections.
Even during the Trump administration, Andy had several bills signed into law that will make it easier for mothers and babies to access nutrition assistance, protect our waters from PFAS and help prevent veteran suicides. In his first year in the White House, President Joe Biden signed Andy’s bill to restrict PFAS incineration into law and the bill that Andy led in the House and Senator Jack Reed led in the Senate which provides the single largest investment in public libraries in our nation’s history.
Andy approaches every challenge on the House Education and Labor Committee by asking the same questions: how do we put workers at the center of our policy decisions to secure universal child care, quality public education, quality health care, job training, the freedom to form a union, good-paying jobs and a dignified retirement for all?
On the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Andy is uniquely positioned to shape the policies that protect human rights, democracy and a free press abroad. His keen understanding of the intersection of trade agreements and workers’ rights make him a sought-after voice on how to protect U.S. jobs most effectively.
Union Organizer and Workers’ Rights Expert
Time Magazine covered Andy’s “cheeky” threat to organize his college classmates to show up disrobed to graduation if Williams College forced students to wear gowns from a factory with striking workers — and he won! He has never stopped advocating for workers or participating in acts of civil disobedience since then. From 1983 to 1988, he organized health care workers in Indiana, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and right here in Farmington Hills, Michigan to join the Service Employees International Union against the fierce and often intimidating opposition of giant health care corporations.
Andy later served for 11 years as Assistant Director of Organizing for the national AFL-CIO, helping workers across the country organize for a better life with a wide variety of unions. At the AFL-CIO, Andy created and directed the Voice@Work campaign, which won nearly universal Democratic support in Congress for the Employee Free Choice Act, which if it had passed would have overhauled America’s labor laws to allow employees to bargain for better wages and working conditions. He created the Union Summer program, which put more than 1,000 young people on the frontlines of union campaigns in the summer of 1996. Union Summer has lived on and is still emulated by unions, universities and law firms. Andy now hosts Democracy Summer to help young folks get engaged in congressional campaigns.
Andy went on to serve as staff attorney to President Clinton’s Commission on the Future of Worker-Management Relations and Special Counsel to former Labor Secretary Robert Reich.
Today, Andy is known as the “Shop Steward of Congress” by colleagues and allies in labor. When congressional staff wanted to form unions, free from retaliation, they asked Andy Levin to introduce the first ever resolution affirming their right to organize. Andy has authored several labor bills, walked picket lines across the country and has the backing of millions of workers with every national union endorsement in the race.
National Leader in Workforce Training
From 2007-2011 Andy served as Deputy Director and Acting Director of the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth and as Michigan’s first Chief Workforce Officer. When Michigan’s workers were down on their luck the most during the Great Recession, Andy created and ran No Worker Left Behind, the largest experiment by any state in modern times in worker training.
No Worker Left Behind put 162,000 unemployed and underemployed Michigan workers back to school to study for certificates and degrees leading to in-demand jobs in Michigan. The program was enormously popular, with waiting lists in many counties across the state. No Worker Left Behind simplified and tamed the immense complexity of the federal workforce system, creating simple eligibility criteria and clear benefits.
The program was seen as a national model, and Andy has spoken widely about workforce training. More importantly, No Worker Left Behind helped thousands of Michigan families find a new foothold in our changing economy. Andy served on the board of the National Skills Coalition until the fall of 2017 and continues to advocate passionately for the rights of all workers who lose their jobs or need new skills to obtain the training they deserve. He knows it can be done!
President Biden selected Andy’s “America’s College Promise Act” as his free community college component of the American Families Plan. Andy welcomed First Lady Jill Biden and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to Michigan to champion this policy that would help all students attend two years of college and help Black and Brown students afford four-year degrees at HBCUs and MSIs.
Clean Energy Entrepreneur and Environmental Activist
After leaving state government in 2011, Andy founded and ran his own company, Levin Energy Partners, LLC. He has created a statewide market to finance clean energy building improvements called Lean & Green Michigan. By the time Andy stepped down to enter Congress, 68 percent of all Michiganders lived in a Lean & Green Michigan jurisdiction, and they had started to choose energy efficiency, water efficiency and renewable energy projects on every manner of business and non-profit building.
Andy believes we have a moral obligation to protect and preserve our natural resources. He was involved in the campaign to prevent drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the campaign to close the Rowe Yankee nuclear plant and has remained active on environmental causes ever since. The only candidate to take the #NoFossilFuelMoneyPledge and to support a Green New Deal, Andy has received every climate endorsement in the race. A true believer in the spiritual and economic importance of wilderness, Andy is so excited about the rural communities and lakes where his family has hiked, cross-country skied and paddled for years.
Human Rights Advocate
Andy has advocated for human rights across the globe, as well as celebrating diversity at home. In college he was a leader of the Williams Anti-Apartheid Coalition, which conducted a weeklong hunger strike that garnered national attention in an effort to convince the trustees of Williams College to divest from companies that did business in South Africa.
Andy traveled to Hong Kong and China during the summer of 1989 and published photographs and writings about his eyewitness observations of the Chinese crackdown on dissent in Chengdu during the Tiananmen Massacre. He published a lengthy, exclusive interview with and a newspaper article about the Dalai Lama when he won the Nobel Peace Prize for seeking human rights for Tibetans in their own land.
Andy has been especially active on human rights in Haiti. He learned to speak Haitian Creole while organizing Haitian nursing home workers in Boston, and served as an observer to the first attempt at presidential elections in 1987 after the end of the Duvalier dictatorship. Now, he founded the House Haiti Caucus to support Haitian civil society and drive effective U.S. policy to support democracy and economic development in Haiti.
Andy has received every progressive foreign policy endorsement in the race for his steadfast commitment to minority rights and diplomacy.
Person of Faith and Jewish Community Leader
A former synagogue president, board member and leader of Jewish congregations in suburban Washington, DC and Detroit, Andy credits his Judaism for inspiring his commitment to justice and Tikkun Olam, repairing the world.
And served as the president of Congregation T’chiyah (formerly Oak Park, now in Ferndale, both in the new MI-11) and as chair of the steering committee of Detroit Jews for Justice, an organization he helped create to activate Jews of all ages to fight for racial and economic justice in Detroit and southeast Michigan.
Andy leads with his Jewish values as an outspoken, progressive member of the House fighting for racial and economic justice; Andy’s record on health care, reproductive justice, gun violence and Social Security reflect his consistent alignment with the priority issues of America’s Jewish community.
Andy is known for forging important coalitions in Congress and bringing communities together for interfaith dialogue and understanding to build resilience and fight antisemitism and all manifestations of hate and white supremacy.
Andy married his high school sweetheart Mary Freeman in 1991 and they have four kids, Koby, Saul, Ben and Molly. Mary and the kids are the center of his life, and Andy believes supporting families in all their forms is crucial to building a healthy, sustainable world. Andy and Mary’s kids inspire this vision endlessly, with their dedication to the Green New Deal, equitable public education, humane foreign policy and direct action to bring about fundamental change. When they aren’t changing the world, you’ll also find Andy and Mary cheering their kids on at choir concerts, musicals and hockey games.
Son of the New 11th District
Andy’s roots in Oakland County, Michigan go back well over 100 years — Andy’s great-grandfather opened a general store in the 1890s in Birmingham, where he raised the first Jewish family in the little country town! Andy was born and raised in Berkley in the new 11th District, attending Berkley Elementary School, Anderson Junior High (now Middle) School and Berkley High. As a kid, he delivered the Daily Tribune after school rain or shine, worked as a restaurant busboy, operated A&B Lawn Service with his friend Brian and played hockey, baseball, basketball and tennis.
Andy and Mary’s kids are the fifth generation to call the new 11th district home. They have attended West Maple Elementary School, Berkshire Middle School, Groves High School and the International Academy. Andy and Mary have attended scores of soccer, hockey, baseball, softball and basketball games as well as plays and choir performances — and loved every one of them!
Proud Levin Family Son
And yes, Andy is Sandy Levin’s son and the late Carl Levin’s nephew. Andy has been steeped in politics almost from birth — when his dad was Oakland County Democratic Party chairman. He remembers meeting Hubert Humphrey, Ed Muskie and other Democratic luminaries as a child, often in his family home or station wagon. Andy has spent his life debating politics and policy with others in the family, and observed closely how Sandy and Carl Levin operated in Michigan and Washington. Every day, Andy works to honor their legacy of integrity, humility, moral purpose and hard work in public service.
Aside from the famous men in his family like his Uncle Ted, Cousin Chuck, his dad and Uncle Carl, Andy also credits the women in his life for shaping his values: his mom Vicki who helped lead Berkley Better Schools, his Aunt Hannah the Democratic strategist, and now his wife Mary who is such a force in this campaign while leading a clean energy business and his daughter Molly who recently organized a climate strike walkout at her school.