Elizabeth Warren stumps for Andy Levin: 'He's put himself on the line on climate'

Hannah Mackay
The Detroit News

Pontiac — U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts joined Rep. Andy Levin on Sunday in a rally just over a week before his Aug. 2 primary showdown with Rep. Haley Stevens in Michigan's new 11th Congressional District.

Levin and Stevens, incumbents seeking third terms, are battling for the 11th district, which includes Oakland County Royal Oak, Birmingham, Farmington Hills, West Bloomfield Township and Pontiac.

Warren endorsed Levin, D-Bloomfield Township, in June, backing him as the most progressive candidate in the race. Levin also has been endorsed by Bernie Sanders and Sunrise Movement and Clean Water Action environmental groups. Stevens, D-Waterford Township, has been endorsed by Hillary Clinton and Emily's List, both citing the need to elect pro-choice female candidates. 

U.S. Rep. Andy Levin (left) with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren in jubilation as they campaign in Pontiac or the 11th Congressional District Democratic primary showdown against Rep. Haley Stevens on Sunday, July 24, 2022.

Warren was at the Crofoot venue in downtown Pontiac headlining a canvassing event for Levin on Sunday.

Tameka Ramsey, the Pontiac Charter Commission chairwoman and  with the Black Women’s Roundtable Metro Detroit, kicked off the rally by explaining she is a "reluctant elected official."

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren campaigns for U.S. Rep. Andy Levin in the 11th Congressional District Democratic primary on Sunday in Pontiac.

"As a Black woman with a Black husband and Black kids, every single thing that happens in my life is political," Ramsey said.

She met Levin in 2019 and has built a working relationship, even though she hasn't been his constituent until this election cycle.

"It is Congressman Levin, who met ... with Black woman's roundtable ... who listened to me every year for the past three years, not owing me nothing because I could not vote for him, but still fighting for bills that I came to him and said, 'This is important to my community,'" Ramsey said. "We need someone who when no one is looking, they're still going to do the right thing. When no one is paying attention, they are fighting for us."

Medicare for all, climate change, workers' rights, campaign finance and body autonomy were issues that concerned those in the crowd.

Climate Change

MaryBeth MacDonald, 56, of Bloomfield Township said she works for General Motors Co. She said she likes Levin's support for electrification. 

"Andy Levin is a big supporter of electrification and reinforcing or establishing or increasing the infrastructure for electric vehicle charging stations," she said. "That's gonna lead to partially addressing climate change. Climate change is a huge risk to not only our country but our world."

Warren, who worked with Levin on the Build Green Act, agreed, and said the planet was on fire and there are many things Democrats in Congress need to push for.

"When your ears are stuffed with money from the fossil fuel industry, you can't hear from the American people who say, 'It is time to fight the climate crisis head on'," Warren said. "Andy Levin knows climate. Andy Levin has put himself on the line on climate. And when in January 2023, we are out there in this fight ...  I want to look over and see that Andy Levin is fighting right alongside us."

Levin, who has supported legislative efforts to implement the Green New Deal, called out Stevens for not being as committed to addressing climate change. 

"My opponent opposes the green New Deal, I'm one of just 27 senators and representatives who are on every green New Deal bill," Levin said. "We have to reduce our energy use and start producing 100% renewable energy all across the economy." 

Corporate campaign contributions

Arven Eahr, 52, of Macomb Township  said he planned to knock on doors for Levin in Pontiac after the rally. He has supported Levin in the past, particularly because he doesn't take corporate campaign donations. 

"The corporations give a lot of money to politicians and basically want something in return back," he said. "He (Levin) is against that."

Stevens has outspent and out-raised Levin significantly, reporting that her campaign had $1.8 million for the final leg of the race. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee pro-Israeli lobby has given $636,000 to her campaign and an AIPAC-affiliated super-PAC contributed $2.4 million.

Levin called the amount of dark money in the race "sickening".

"The idea that AIPAC is putting together $22 million at last count, to intervene in Democratic primaries and getting the money from Republican billionaires ... that is undemocratic and it's disgusting," Levin said.

Abortion and healthcare

West Bloomfield resident Braden Crimmins, 21, said he appreciates Levin's willingness to propose solutions to issues his constituents care about, rather than just asking for donations and votes. 

"He's the one who's saying we need to abolish the filibuster and go out and maybe expand the Supreme Court, protect reproductive rights at all costs because it's a human rights crisis," Crimmins said.

Warren said since the "extremist United States Supreme Court" has overturned Roe v. Wade, and Republican legislators likely will seek to ban abortions at the national level, it falls on Democrats in Congress to protect body autonomy. 

"When I am in that foxhole in January, fighting for our rights, fighting for equal citizenship for every person in this country, I want to look over to my side and see Andy Levin in that foxhole with me," Warren said. 

hmackay@detroitnews.com