Lawmaker Profile

Sen. Debbie Stabenow

[D, MI]
Born in Gladwin and raised in Clare, Debbie Stabenow knows what matters to Michigan. Elected to the United States Senate in 2000, she is respected for her ability to build coalitions to get things done for Michigan and our nation.

As Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and as a member of the Senate Energy, Finance, and Budget Committees, she has a powerful and unique role to play in shaping our nation's manufacturing, health care, and agriculture policies, which are so critical to our future.

She is a true friend and fighter for Michigan.

Growing up in Clare, Debbie Stabenow learned the value of a hard-day's work from her parents.  She graduated at the top of her class from Clare High School and went on to receive her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Michigan State University. She worked with youth in the public schools before running for public office.

Senator Stabenow was inspired to first run for office after leading a successful effort to stop the closure of a local nursing home. She was elected to the Ingham County Board of Commissioners when she was 24 years old, and in just two years, was elected Chair of the Board. She was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives where she served for twelve years (1979-90) and to the State Senate where she served for four years (1991-94). 

Elected to the U.S. Congress in 1996 representing Michigan's Eighth Congressional District, she made history in 2000 when she became the first woman from the State of Michigan elected to the United States Senate.

Today, in addition to serving as Michigan's senior U.S. Senator, Debbie Stabenow is a member of the Senate leadership. As Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Center, she makes sure there is Michigan voice at the table and that Congress' priorities stay in line with the priorities of middle class families.

Creating jobs in Michigan is Senator Stabenow's top priority. She has committed herself to bringing jobs back to Michigan and to ensuring that Michigan is a destination for the jobs of the future.  As new international trade agreements are being negotiated, Senator Stabenow has called for the removal of trade barriers that hurt American businesses. And she has made clear that if a trade agreement doesn't work for our workers, then it doesn't work for America, which is why she supports a race-to-the-top framework that would compel our trading partners to raise their standards on wages, environmental responsibility and working conditions.

Senator Stabenow believes that high-quality, affordable health care should be available to every American. She worked to ensure that the Affordable Care Act promoted comprehensive coverage for women, including maternity care, and she supported provisions that lower the cost of prescription drugs for seniors. She also made mental health parity in the law a top priority. In 2014 she successfully passed legislation that included language based on her Excellence in Mental Health Act, which provides funding for an expansion of mental health services.  

As Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health Care, Senator Stabenow is a champion for Medicare, Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program. She has been recognized for her success making prescription drugs more affordable.

She is also a leading advocate of community health centers, which provide affordable, high-quality care in over 180 communities in Michigan. As part of the Affordable Care Act, Senator Stabenow ensured that these health centers would get immediate assistance to expand their operations and provide primary care services to up to 25 million Americans in need. 

Senator Stabenow knows that we don't have an economy unless we make things and grow things - and this is especially key in Michigan's economy. So in addition to taking actions to strengthen Great Lakes manufacturing, she has been a forceful advocate for policies that will power growth in Michigan agriculture - the state's second biggest source of jobs.

In writing the 2014 Farm Bill, Senator Stabenow streamlined more than 100 programs while making historic investments in land and water conservation, clean energy, local food systems, specialty crops and is helping to reinvigorate the economies of small towns and rural communities through her support of cutting-edge research and biobased manufacturing. 

After her election to the U.S. Senate, the first bill Senator Stabenow passed into law was a ban on oil and gas drilling in the Great Lakes.  The Stabenow-authored Farm Bill will help protect the Great Lakes and other precious natural resources by strengthening conservation programs by bringing together farmers, businesses, conservationists, university researchers state agencies and nonprofits as stakeholders in the quality of Great Lakes water. With funds secured through Farm Bill programs, they are working together to provide healthy soil, clean water and wildlife habitat.

As Co-Chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, Senator Stabenow is also leading the fight to protect our waters from the threat posed by invasive species, and the risks that come from oil pipelines and a nuclear waste facility the Canada government is proposing to build on the shores of Lake Huron.  In recent years, no one has fought harder to secure federal funding in support of the Great Lakes, from cleaning up and restoring our waterways to modernizing the coastal infrastructure that links Michigan businesses to the global economy.

A musician at heart, Senator Stabenow sings and plays both the piano and the guitar. Her home is in Lansing, where she is a lifelong Methodist and a member of Grace United Methodist Church. She has two grown children, Todd and Michelle; a daughter-in-law, Sara; a son-in-law, Scott; and four beautiful grandchildren.

Lawmaker posts coming soon.