Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Andy Levin takes up fellowship at Center for American Progress

March 1, 2023
<p>Former Rep. Andy Levin gives a speech near the U.S. Capitol. Levin will be joining the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank in Washington D.C. as a senior fellow. <em>Courtesy of Andy Levin</em></p>

Former Rep. Andy Levin gives a speech near the U.S. Capitol. Levin will be joining the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank in Washington D.C. as a senior fellow. Courtesy of Andy Levin

Two months after finishing out his second term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Andy Levin is changing direction.

The former Bloomfield Twp. congressman will begin work on “connections of economic growth and democratic accountability” with the Washington-based Center for American Progress, or CAP. 

CAP announced Levin’s appointment as a distinguished senior fellow on Feb. 28. Levin said he has always admired the work done by the think tank. 

“There's a lot of people there doing really good work on things I care a lot about, including the future of the labor movement, how to reduce income and wealth inequality in the United States and how to promote democracy at home and around the world,” Levin said. “So it's a natural fit for me.”

CAP describes itself as an “independent, nonpartisan policy institute that is dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans through bold, progressive ideas,” and deals with issues of national security, social justice, and economic policy.

The think tank has notable alumni, many of whom hold high positions in the Biden administration. Veteran Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough and State Department Under Secretary Uzra Zeya have both been senior fellows at CAP.

Levin cited common interests with the CAP’s leadership as inspiration for joining the team. CAP President Patrick Gaspard, whom Levin said he counts as a good friend, said in a statement that he’s excited to see Levin’s expertise at work through CAP.

“Across his decades in public service, Rep. Levin has developed a deep understanding of the ways in which strong economies and strong democracies are interconnected at home and abroad,” Gaspard said in the statement. 

After losing a high-profile Democratic primary to Rep. Haley Stevens in the 11th Congressional District in August 2022, Levin’s political future was open-ended. There was speculation that he’d seek Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s seat upon her retirement in 2024, but Levin decided to veer away from elected office.

Reports from national outlets also listed Levin as a possible secretary of the Department of Labor, following Secretary Marty Walsh's resignation to head up the National Hockey League players' union, although the position went to Deputy Labor Secretary Julie Su.

Levin said he intends to split his time between Michigan and Washington, D.C., where he rents an apartment. He said he’ll remain connected to Michigan through other initiatives he’s pursuing regarding Midwest issues. 

“In addition to the Center for American Progress, I already have three other projects that I'm working on that I'm very excited about,” Levin said.

One of those projects that will keep Levin in Michigan for the foreseeable future is his work with the Environmental Law and Policy Center, where he acts as a consultant for the organization’s “Power Plants to Parklands” initiative. 

Levin said the project aims to convert former coal power plant sites, many of which are situated on lakes or rivers in Michigan, into public parklands or clean energy development areas. He said he’s excited to help advance the project’s goal of helping transition the power plants to more environmentally-friendly endeavors.

“We want to encourage them to have fantastic environmental stewardship of those properties and then create some good new union jobs for their workers,” Levin said.

Levin said he also plans to continue work with Lean & Green MI, a group that helps public and private entities do what Levin calls "clean energy makeovers" to their buildings. 

Levin’s longtime involvement in labor issues, both as a lawyer and former union organizer, had many wondering if he’d assume outgoing labor secretary Marty Walsh’s position upon his departure. On Feb. 28, the White House confirmed that President Joe Biden will nominate Deputy Secretary Julie Su for the position.

As for whether or not the future might hold any more runs for public office, Levin said he doesn’t currently have any plans to go back to life as a political candidate, but left the door open to the possibility. 

“I've had a lot of fun adventures in life,” Levin said. “Being in Congress was certainly one of them. But I'm very happy about what I'm doing right now. And maybe I'll run again, but we'll see.”

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