With Levin Leaving, Dan Kildee Seeks Ways and Means Spot

Third-term Michigan Democrat spent the weekend lobbying leadership

Rep. Dan Kildee, second from left, is angling for a spot on the Ways and Means Committee now that fellow Michigan Rep. Sander M. Levin, second from right, isn’t seeking re-election in 2018. Also pictured, from left, Virginia Rep. Robert C. Scott and Michigan Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With longtime House Ways and Means member Sander M. Levin announcing Saturday he won’t run for re-election next year, his fellow Michigan Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee spent the weekend lobbying leadership for a spot on the influential panel.

Kildee sent letters to each member of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, which is responsible for making committee assignments after the midterms.

“Being from Michigan, I know how vital it is that our country’s tax and trade policies prioritize American workers and businesses,” the third-term congressman wrote to Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro in a letter obtained by Roll Call. DeLauro co-chairs the Steering and Policy Committee. 

“Hardworking Michiganders helped to build the middle class and workers in my hometown of Flint and across our region put the world on wheels,” Kildee said.

“And now, with our first class universities and second to none workforce, we are leading the next wave of innovation from autonomous vehicles to high-tech manufacturing. And with Congressman Levin’s retirement, it will be important to have representation from a state that plays such a critical role in powering our economy into the 21st Century,” he added.

Kildee touted his service on former President Barack Obama’s Export Council and his work to protect the 2010 health care law and the 2010 financial regulatory overhaul popularly known as Dodd-Frank, as a member of the Financial Services Committee. 

“Finally, I was honored when you and my other fellow Democratic caucus members worked with me to pass the $170 million aid package for Flint last year,” he wrote DeLauro.

Kildee has also been placing calls to caucus leadership and current members of the Ways and Means Committee and labor and industry leaders who frequently work with the panel. No other Michigan Democrat serves on Ways and Means.

First elected in 2012, Kildee has served on the Financial Services Committee since 2013. He’s currently vice ranking member. The co-chair of the Congressional Urban Caucus, Kildee has been hosting forums around the country about the future of cities and towns. He recently held one with New York Rep. Brian Higgins, the vice ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee.  

Levin was first elected in 1982 and joined the Ways and Means Committee in 1987. He was the top ranking Democrat from 2010 to 2016, when he stepped aside to make room for a younger member. The 18-term Democrat remains the ranking member on the Health Subcommittee. He announced his retirement Saturday.

“Sandy isn’t just a colleague; he is a mentor and dear friend,” Kildee said in a statement about the retiring lawmaker. 

“I will never forget that Sandy was one of the first Members of Congress to come to Flint and help residents recover from the water crisis. His devotion to public service is unwavering,” he said.

After leaving Congress in 2019, Levin will be joining the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

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