Issue One joins in mourning the loss of former Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) and former Governor Richard “Dick” Lamm (D-CO), both of whom were active members of Issue One’s ReFormers Caucus, a bipartisan coalition of more than 200 former members of Congress, governors, and Cabinet secretaries united to fix America’s broken political system.
Senator Levin and Governor Lamm both passed away on July 29. Senator Levin was 87, and Governor Lamm was 85.
We would like to share our condolences with their loved ones and former constituents. And in celebration of Senator Levin’s and Governor Lamm’s lives and legacies, Issue One takes time to honor their commitment to serving our country with passion and determination.
Before serving in Congress, Senator Levin graduated from Swarthmore College in 1956 with a degree in political science. He would go on to earn a law degree in 1959 from Harvard Law School, which he would use in his capacity as general counsel for the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, a lawyer in Detroit’s Public Defender’s Office, Michigan’s special assistant attorney general, and president of the Detroit City Council.
After eight years on the Detroit City Council, Senator Levin was elected in 1979 to the U.S. Senate, where he would serve six terms and become the longest-serving senator in Michigan’s history.
A proud champion of government ethics and oversight, Senator Levin authored multiple pieces of sweeping legislation to place appropriate checks on our representatives in Congress, like the Office of Government Ethics Reauthorization Act of 1988 that established the Office of Government Ethics as an independent agency.
Senator Levin also co-sponsored the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, which established the first effective disclosure requirements for federal lobbyists and increased restrictions on gifts to members of Congress.
Additionally, Senator Levin authored the Ethics Reform Act of 1989, which prohibited gifts of honoraria to members of Congress and significantly limited the use of expensive junkets. And he authored the Whistleblower Protection Act, which protected federal employees who expose wasteful and unnecessary practices.
Governor Lamm earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1957, and his law degree from the University of California in 1961. He was elected to his first term in the Colorado House of Representatives in 1964, and went on to serve ten years in that capacity.
He then was elected governor of Colorado in 1974 and would go on to serve three terms, becoming the longest-serving governor in Colorado’s history.
Governor Lamm was a stalwart for environmental protection. He demanded that the federal government and private interests pay for resource cultivation, and he established a severance tax to mitigate those effects.
Governor Lamm was also a proud supporter of public education in Colorado, most prominently in support of the University of Denver, where Governor Lamm later served as the director of the Center for Public Policy and Contemporary Issues.
Governor Lamm’s legacy also included appointing the first woman to serve on Colorado’s Supreme Court in 1979.
We thank Senator Levin and Governor Lamm for their impactful years of public service in multiple capacities, and for inspiring future generations of leaders. They will be sincerely missed.