Debbie Stabenow

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Debbie Stabenow


Deborah Ann Greer "Debbie" Stabenow (born April 29, 1950) is the junior 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 (1975-1978), Michigan House of Representatives (1979-1990), and Michigan Senate (1991-1994).

Stabenow defeated first-term Republican incumbent Spencer Abraham in the 2000 U.S. Senate election, becoming the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Michigan. She and Maria Cantwell were the first women to defeat incumbent Senators in a general election, Carol Moseley Braun having done so in a primary in 1992. Stabenow was re-elected in 2006.

Stabenow currently serves as chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Rural Revitalization, Conservation, Forestry and Credit, Senate Energy Subcommittee on Water and Power, and Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee.

Early life and career

Stabenow was born in Gladwin, Michigan, to Anna Merle Hallmark and Robert Lee Greer.[1] She grew up in Clare, Michigan, where her father and grandfather owned an auto dealership. She graduated from Clare High School. She received a B.A. from Michigan State University in 1972 and a M.S.W. magna cum laude from Michigan State University in 1975[2].

While in graduate school, Stabenow won her first election, to the Ingham County Board of Commissioners, a position in which she served from 1975 to 1978. She has also worked as a social worker, and a leadership training consultant. 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 made an unsuccessful primary run for Governor of Michigan, after which she was chosen as nominee Congressman Howard Wolpe's running mate, but lost to the incumbent ticket of John Engler and Conie Binsfield.

She was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1996 from Michigan's 8th congressional district and served two terms. She did not seek reelection to the House of Representatives in 2000, but was elected to the U.S. Senate. Stabenow was considered the underdog for much of the Senate race, but rallied in the final weeks of the campaign to unseat Spencer Abraham by a narrow margin after the Federation for American Immigration Reform ran ads criticizing Abraham's stance in favor of relaxing immigration restrictions.[3]

Michigan legislature

Stabenow was a leader in the passage of the one of the first laws in the U.S. that required all Michigan children to ride in car seats until age five. She authored a domestic violence law which increased criminal penalties for those committing domestic violence offences. Republican members of the State legislature nicknamed her "D-Stabs" around this time. She was the first woman to preside over the House.

In the Michigan Senate, Stabenow was a leader in the passage of bills including Michigan's property tax cuts and school funding reform, small business reforms, and legislation to protect families and children in the state.

Political positions

[edit] Fairness doctrine

Stabenow has expressed support in regulating talk radio via a measure like the Fairness doctrine. On February 5, 2009, she stated "I think itís absolutely time to pass a standard. Now, whether itís called the Fairness Standard, whether itís called something else ó I absolutely think itís time to be bringing accountability to the airwaves."[8]

Her support for these measures has been met with concerns about a conflict of interest, given that the primary target is conservative talk radio and that her current husband, Tom Athans, has been an executive at a number of liberal progressive talk radio networks.[9]

[edit] Drilling in the Great Lakes

Being a supporter of environmental issues, she authored the first law to ban drilling in the Great Lakes.

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 issue 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.[10] 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.[11]

[edit] Global warming

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."[5].

[edit] SGR mechanism

Senator Stabenow has introduced a bill to end the SGR mechanism. In physician payment mechanisms, SGR refers to the "sustainable growth rate", used to calculate physician fees under Medicare, where theoretically, these fees would be reduced every year to compensate for an increase in Medicare spending overall. Medical organizations complain of being the only profession in the USA to live under government imposed price controls, controls which in actuality are not enforced. Because most often the US Congress responds to physician organization appeals, last-minute supplementary spending is approved (increasing the actual expenditures) so that no fee reduction occurs. A 21% cut would be due in January 2010.

[edit] Personal life

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 the executive vice president of Air America. By this marriage, she has a stepdaughter, Gina. On April 2, 2008, the Detroit Free Press reported that Athans had been implicated in a prostitution sting.[12] Stabenow released a statement saying "This is very disturbing and serious. Obviously it's a deeply difficult and personal matter."[13]

She belongs to the Grace United Methodist Church.




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