Born in Gladwin and raised in Clare, where her family ran the local Oldsmobile dealership and her mom was a nurse, Debbie is relentlessly focused on standing up for middle-class families and strengthening the middle-class by focusing on what we do best in Michigan: making things and growing things.
Debbie has been leading the effort to bring the jobs of the future to Michigan. She has championed legislation that cuts taxes for Michigan businesses that make new high-tech, alternative energy products right here in Michigan – like advanced batteries, wind turbines and solar panels. Thanks to her efforts and partnerships with Michigan innovators and entrepreneurs, Michigan businesses are expanding, and Michigan workers are building advanced technology products that will drive our future.
Senator Stabenow believes we need to be exporting our products, not our jobs. She is leading the charge to crack down on China’s trade violations that are taking Michigan jobs and to end tax breaks for American companies that ship our jobs overseas. She’s written legislation to ban the federal government from buying Chinese products until the Chinese government agrees to buy products from American companies. She has also passed legislation in the Senate cracking down on China’s currency manipulation, which hurts American companies and costs us jobs.
Last year, she became Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee— the first leader from Michigan to chair that committee since 1889. In her new position, she is helping farmers and small businesses expand Michigan agriculture, which supports almost one out of every four Michigan jobs. She is focused on innovative new opportunities that bring together agriculture and manufacturing including bio-based manufacturing and the development of the next-generation of biofuels.
As Chairwoman, Senator Stabenow authored a new bipartisan Farm Bill that cuts spending by $23 billion, provides disaster relief, and helps create agriculture jobs. Working with Democrats and Republicans, she was able to pass the bill with broad bipartisan support. The Farm Bill cuts $23 billion in government spending by ending direct payment subsidies that pay farmers for crops they don’t even grow and even when they are doing well, eliminating over 100 programs and authorizations, and cracking down on fraud and abuse in food assistance programs. The bill has been hailed as the most significant reform of agriculture in decades and is the only bipartisan legislation that cuts spending. By increasing accountability and making programs smarter, Debbie was able to secure disaster relief for farmers in Michigan whose crops were devastated by early spring weather followed by late freezes.
The first bill she passed in the Senate was a ban on oil and gas drilling in the Great Lakes. She is leading bipartisan efforts to stop the invasive Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes and authored a new law this year that requires the Army Corps of Engineers to develop an action plan to permanently separate the Chicago waterways from Lake Michigan. She negotiated an historic agreement with the Government of Ontario to stop 40,000 trash trucks that were coming into Michigan every year, and she wrote a bill to increase inspection fees to stop the rest of the Canadian trash from being dumped in Michigan.
The daughter of a World War II veteran, Senator Stabenow has been a longtime advocate for the 700,000 veterans living in Michigan. She led the effort to open new veterans’ clinics in Mackinaw City, Cadillac, Alpena, Bad Axe, Clare, and Grayling, and authored legislation to protect funding for veterans’ health care. She led the effort to pass a new law that cuts taxes for businesses that hire unemployed veterans. She also co-sponsored the 21st Century GI Bill, which provides education benefits for returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan and new programs to help those veterans with traumatic brain injuries or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Debbie was one of only a handful of Democrats to vote against the 2008 Wall Street bailout, and supported landmark financial reform legislation that bans future bank bailouts and imposes tough new rules on Wall Street. Stabenow believes that small businesses and a strong middle class are the key to job growth, and championed the Small Business Jobs Act, which cut taxes for small businesses and increases their access to capital to create new jobs. She also wrote a law cutting unnecessary regulation and red tape for 820,000 small businesses in Michigan.
Debbie has deep roots in Michigan. Her accomplishments and strong constituent services are reflected in the diversity of those who support her. From traditional Democratic support among working men and women, to support from Michigan’s top business leaders, small business owners, agricultural producers, veterans and law enforcement, Debbie has earned the support of people and families across the state.
Debbie lives in Lansing and has two grown children, Todd and Michelle; a daughter-in-law, Sara; a son-in-law, Scott; and three grandchildren.