U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow said she will not seek re-election at the end of her term after serving more than two decades in Congress.
Stabenow, 72, was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000 and took her seat in 2001. The announcement opens up a race for Democrats to replace her and Republicans to try and take over the seat in the 2024 election.
“Inspired by a new generation of leaders, I have decided to pass the torch in the U.S. Senate," Stabenow said in a statement. "“Under the cloud of unprecedented threats to our democracy and our basic freedoms, a record-breaking number of people voted last year in Michigan. Young people showed up like never before. This was a very hopeful sign for our future."
Stabenow was the first woman from Michigan elected to the Senate in 2000, and has a long history of politics in the state.
The Gladwin, Mich. native served on the Ingham County Board of Commissioners from 1975-1979, was in the Michigan House of Representatives from 1979-1991, the Michigan Senate from 1991-1994 and the U.S. House of Representatives from 1997-2001.
She graduated from Clare High School and Michigan State University.
Since 2017, Stabenow has been the chair of the U.S. Senate Democratic Policy Committee, which serves as an advisory board to Democratic leadership and is also the chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
“When my term ends, I intend to begin a new chapter in my life that includes continuing to serve our State outside of elected office while spending precious time with my amazing 96-year-old mom and my wonderful family," she said.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer released a statement on the retirement, indicating she would not seek Stabenow's seat. Whitmer's name came up quickly as someone who could run for office.
“Senator Stabenow is a champion for Michigan.
As the first woman elected to represent Michigan in the U.S. Senate, she’s been leading the fight for working families, the auto industry, and farmers for a lifetime in Michigan and for Michigan in Washington, DC. She continues to stand up for workers’ rights and expand paths to good-paying jobs in the trades, bring manufacturing and supply chains home to Michigan, and work across the aisle as Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee to deliver record, bipartisan farm bills.
She is a fierce protector of our Great Lakes, fought for decades to modernize the Soo Locks, and continues to tackle toxic contaminants in drinking water. She’s also a leader in expanding access to affordable health care and ensuring parity for mental health services.
Most of all, she is an incredible friend. Debbie is one-of-one. As governor of this great state for the next four years, I look forward to working with her through the end of her term and beyond in however she serves our state next.”