U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow has announced she will not seek re-election when her current term ends. She has served more than two decades in Congress.
Stabenow, 72, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000 and took office the next year. The announcement comes as a bit of a surprise, as she is extremely popular across the state. Now, Democrats will race to replace her and Republicans will try and take over her seat in 2024.
“Inspired by a new generation of leaders, I have decided to pass the torch in the U.S. Senate,” Stabenow said in a statement. ““Under the cloud of unprecedented threats to our democracy and our basic freedoms, a record-breaking number of people voted last year in Michigan. Young people showed up like never before. This was a very hopeful sign for our future.”
Stabenow, a Gladwin native, was the first woman from Michigan elected to the Senate in 2000. She served on the Ingham County Board of Commissioners from 1975-1979, was in the Michigan House of Representatives from 1979-1991, the Michigan Senate from 1991-1994 and the U.S. House of Representatives from 1997-2001. She graduated from Michigan State University.
“When my term ends, I intend to begin a new chapter in my life that includes continuing to serve our State outside of elected office while spending precious time with my amazing 96-year-old mom and my wonderful family,” she said.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a statement on the retirement and said she would not run for Stabenow’s seat.
“Senator Stabenow is a champion for Michigan,” Whitemer said. “As the first woman elected to represent Michigan in the U.S. Senate, she’s been leading the fight for working families, the auto industry, and farmers for a lifetime in Michigan and for Michigan in Washington, DC. She continues to stand up for workers’ rights and expand paths to good-paying jobs in the trades, bring manufacturing and supply chains home to Michigan, and work across the aisle as Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee to deliver record, bipartisan farm bills.”
Whitmer added, “She is a fierce protector of our Great Lakes, fought for decades to modernize the Soo Locks, and continues to tackle toxic contaminants in drinking water. She’s also a leader in expanding access to affordable health care and ensuring parity for mental health services. Most of all, she is an incredible friend. Debbie is one-of-one. As governor of this great state for the next four years, I look forward to working with her through the end of her term and beyond in however she serves our state next.”