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, Michigan House of Representatives, and Michigan Senate. 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. Stabenow currently serves as Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
Stabenow was born in Gladwin, Michigan, to Anna Merle Hallmark and Robert Lee Greer. She grew up in Clare, Michigan, where her father and grandfather owned an auto dealership. She graduated from Clare High School. magna cum laude from Michigan State University in 1975. 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 received a B.A. from Michigan State University in 1972 and a M.S.W.
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 Connie Binsfeld. 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.
She has served as:
- Member of the Ingham County Board of Commissioners (1975-1978)
- Member of the Michigan House of Representatives (1979-1980)
- Member of the Michigan Senate (1991-1994)
- Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Michigan's 8th district (1997-2001)
- Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry (2011-present)
- United States (2001-present))
Debbie 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. During the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, Stabenow was the first Senator to author legislation that would waive all transportation fees to Americans trapped in Lebanon, so that their deportation back to America would not cost them. Stabenow faced her first re-election in the 2006 election against Michael Bouchard, the Oakland County sheriff and former state Senate majority leader. Stabenow received 57 percent of the vote while Bouchard received 41 percent.
Debbie Stabenow became the chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee in 2011, following the defeat of chairwoman Blanche Lincoln.
Debbie 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. Stabenow and Athans divorced on May 28, 2010, approximately two years after Tom Athans was detained in Troy, Michigan, as part of a prostitution sting. Stabenow belongs to the Grace United Methodist Church.
August 9th, 2011