|Chair of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee|
January 3, 2017
|Preceded by||Chuck Schumer|
|Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee|
January 3, 2015
|Preceded by||Thad Cochran|
|Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee|
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2015
|Preceded by||Blanche Lincoln|
|Succeeded by||Pat Roberts|
|Secretary of the Senate Democratic Conference|
January 3, 2005 – January 3, 2007
|Preceded by||Barbara Mikulski|
|Succeeded by||Patty Murray|
|United States Senator
January 3, 2001
Serving with Gary Peters
|Preceded by||Spencer Abraham|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 8th district
January 3, 1997 – January 3, 2001
|Preceded by||Dick Chrysler|
|Succeeded by||Mike Rogers|
|Member of the Michigan Senate
from the 24th district
January 12, 1991 – January 14, 1994
|Preceded by||Bill Sederberg|
|Succeeded by||Joe Schwarz|
|Member of the Michigan House of Representatives
from the 58th district
January 6, 1979 – January 12, 1991
|Preceded by||Thomas Holcomb|
|Succeeded by||Dianne Byrum|
|Born||Deborah Ann Greer
April 29, 1950
Gladwin, Michigan, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Dennis Stabenow (Before 1990)
Tom Athans (2003–2010)
|Education||Michigan State University (BA, MSW)|
Deborah Ann Greer Stabenow // (born April 29, 1950) is the senior United States Senator from Michigan and a member of the Democratic Party. Before her election to the U.S. Senate, she was a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Michigan's 8th congressional district from 1997 to 2001. She previously served as a member of the Ingham County Board of Commissioners, Michigan House of Representatives, and Michigan Senate.
Stabenow served as Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee from 2011 to 2015. She was re-elected to the Senate for a third term in November 2012. She became the state's senior senator upon the retirement of Carl Levin on January 3, 2015. She served as Vice Chair of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee from 2011 to 2017 and became its Chair in 2017.
Stabenow was born in Gladwin, Michigan, the daughter of Anna Merle (née Hallmark) and Robert Lee Greer. She grew up in Clare, Michigan. She graduated from Clare High School, and received a Bachelor of Arts from Michigan State University in 1972 and a Master of Social Work magna cum laude from Michigan State University in 1975.
She served in the Michigan House of Representatives from 1979 to 1990, where she became the first woman to preside over the House. She also served in the Michigan Senate from 1991 to 1994.
In 1994, she ran for Governor of Michigan in the Democratic primary, for the opportunity to challenge incumbent Republican John Engler. However, U.S. Congressman Howard Wolpe defeated her in the primary with a plurality of 35% to Stabenow's 30%. After the primary, Wolpe chose Stabenow as his running mate, and she appeared on the general election ballot as the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor. Stabenow failed to become Lieutenant Governor of Michigan as Engler defeated Wolpe 61%-38%.
In 1996, she decided to run for a seat in the United States House of Representatives. She challenged incumbent Republican U.S. Congressman Dick Chrysler of Michigan's 8th congressional district. She defeated him 54%-44%. In 1998, she won re-election to a second term with 57% of the vote.
She did not seek re-election in 2000 in order to challenge incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Spencer Abraham. She won the Democratic primary unopposed. She was considered the underdog[by whom?] for much of the Senate race, but rallied in the final weeks. She defeated him 49.5%-48%, a difference of 67,259 votes.
Stabenow is only the second person from Michigan to have served in both houses of the Michigan State Legislature and in both houses of the United States Congress. Stabenow is also the first person to have served as a Michigan state legislator to be popularly elected to the U.S. Senate (until enactment of the Seventeenth amendment to the United States Constitution in 1913, U.S. Senators were selected by the state legislature). No former Michigan state legislator had served in the U.S. Senate since 1894, when Francis B. Stockbridge died.
Stabenow became the third-ranking Democratic Party member in the U.S. Senate on November 16, 2004, when she was elected as secretary of the Democratic caucus. As caucus secretary, she assisted Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to set the Democratic agenda and priorities. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) was elected Minority Whip, the second-ranking Democratic spot. In November 2006, Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that Stabenow would leave the caucus secretary position to succeed Hillary Clinton as chair of the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee, charged with "engag[ing] Democratic Senators and community leaders across the country in an active dialogue".
Following the withdrawal of Tom Daschle as President Barack Obama's nominee as United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, the National Organization for Women endorsed Stabenow for the position and urged the president to appoint Stabenow, saying, "Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) has long focused on health care as a priority, and with her background as a social worker she is well positioned to take the helm of this agency that is so critical to women and families."
Stabenow became the Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee in 2011, following the defeat of Chairwoman Blanche Lincoln. A controversial item during Stabenow's tenure, has been the renewal and reform of the 2012 U.S. Farm Bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) demonstrated his commitment to working on a new five-year Farm Bill by reintroducing 2012's Senate Farm Bill in the new 113th Congress in January 2013. Senator Reid indicated that the Farm Bill is on his top priority list, and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Stabenow has voiced support for Reid’s move stating, "Majority Leader Reid has demonstrated that the Senate will once again make supporting our nation’s agriculture economy while cutting spending a top priority." 
On October 29, 2014, Stabenow introduced the Gun Lake Trust Land Reaffirmation Act (S. 1603; 113th Congress), a bill that would reaffirm the status of lands taken into trust by the Department of the Interior (DOI) for the benefit of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band. The bill would clarify that the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band's land trust could not be challenged in court under the Supreme Court decision of Carcieri v. Salazar.
Stabenow has expressed support in regulating talk radio via a measure like the Fairness doctrine. On February 5, 2009, she stated "I think it’s absolutely time to pass a standard. Now, whether it’s called the Fairness Standard, whether it’s called something else — I absolutely think it’s time to be bringing accountability to the airwaves." Her support for these measures has been met with criticism about a conflict of interest, given that the primary target is conservative talk radio and that her former husband, Tom Athans, has been an executive at a number of liberal progressive talk radio networks, such as Air America
On August 31, 2006, Stabenow, along with Senator Carl Levin and Rep. John Dingell, announced an agreement that would completely cease Ontario's dumping of solid waste in Michigan within four years. This has been an issue in Michigan for the past several years. Previously in the Senate, Stabenow wrote legislation intended to reduce the dumping of Canadian trash into Michigan by requiring machines to search trash being dumped across the border. In July 2006, the Senate unanimously passed a law sponsored by Stabenow requiring the payment of $420 inspection fee for every truckload of Canadian trash being brought into Michigan.
On August 10, 2009, Stabenow was reported by The Detroit News as saying "Global warming creates volatility. I feel it when I'm flying. The storms are more volatile. We are paying the price in more hurricanes and tornadoes." However, she has opposed regulation of greenhouse gases, enhanced fuel efficiency standards in California, and greenhouse gas emission reporting standards.
Stabenow has a "F" rating from both the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the Gun Owners of America for her consistent voting against pro-gun laws. She has an "A+" rating from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
After the Orlando nightclub shooting, Stabenow participated in the Chris Murphy gun control filibuster. One month later, she supported Democrat proposed bills to ban people from the terrorist watchlist from buying guns and to expand background checks. Neither law passed the Senate. Stabenow blamed the NRA as a primary reason that the bills did not pass.
Stabenow supported President Barack Obama's health reform legislation; she voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009, and she voted for the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. She also sponsored S. 2257: Excellence in Mental Health Act.
Stabenow voted in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 in December 2011, which included highly controversial provisions drafted by Senators Carl Levin and John McCain in closed session, that allows for the indefinite military detention of American citizens who are deemed potential terrorists and enemies of the state without trial, challenging the general judicial status of "innocent until proven guilty."
In March 2011, the Think Progress website criticized Stabenow for joining “the pro-polluter frenzy sweeping the U.S. Senate, introducing legislation to permanently cripple Clean Air Act rules on global warming pollution. The legislation in question was the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011 (S.493), which, according to Think Progress, was “being used as a vehicle for senators who wish to prevent regulation of greenhouse pollution from oil refineries, coal-fired power plants, heavy industry, and other major emitters. Stabenow has added her amendment to three others intended to hamstring the Environmental Protection Agency on behalf of carbon polluters.”
Stabenow's proposed amendment to keep the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions for two years also drew criticism. The amendment would have given “coal-fired power plants, oil refineries and other industrial sources a two year exemption” from rules requiring them to report greenhouse gas emissions. Stabenow defended her position by saying “My amendment is a common-sense approach that allows protections from carbon pollution, determined by scientists and public health experts, to continue being developed while providing businesses the support and incentives they need as they reduce pollution, generate new clean energy technologies and create jobs.”
Stabenow was first married to Dennis Stabenow; the couple divorced in 1990. They have two children, Michelle and Todd.
In 2003, Stabenow married Tom Athans, now co-founder of Democracy Radio and former executive vice president of Air America. By this marriage, she has a stepdaughter, Gina. In 2008, Athans said to the police that he had used the internet “to make a date with a prostitute and paid her $150 for sex at a hotel” in Detroit. The news came about after police investigations into an internet-based prostitution ring operating in the hotel questioned Athans. Stabenow and Athans divorced on May 28, 2010, approximately two years after Athans was detained in Troy, Michigan, as part of a prostitution sting.
Stabenow belongs to Grace United Methodist Church in Lansing, Michigan.
|Michigan's 8th Congressional District election, 1996|
|Natural Law||Patricia Allen||1,679||0.64%|
|Michigan's 8th Congressional District election, 1998|
|Democratic||Debbie Stabenow (incumbent)||125,169||57.41%|
|Republican||Susan Grimes Munsell||84,254||38.64%|
|Libertarian||Ben Steele, III||2,750||1.26%|
|Natural Law||Patricia Rayfield Allen||1,213||0.56%|
|Republican||Spencer Abraham (Incumbent)||1,994,693||47.86|
|Natural Law||William Quarton||5,630||0.14|
|Democratic gain from Republican||Swing||-4.02|
|Democratic||Debbie Stabenow (incumbent)||2,151,278||56.9||+7.4|
|Democratic||Debbie Stabenow (incumbent)||2,735,826||58.8%||+1.9|
|Natural Law||John Litle||11,229||0.2%||+0.1|
|Wikisource has original works written by or about:
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Debbie Stabenow.|
|U.S. House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 8th congressional district
|Party political offices|
|Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Michigan
2000, 2006, 2012
|Secretary of the Senate Democratic Conference
|Chair of the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee
|New office||Vice Chair of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee
|Chair of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee
|U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Michigan
Served alongside: Carl Levin, Gary Peters
|Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee
|Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee
|Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
|United States Senators by seniority
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