LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON
As Congressman Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Township) was in the final days of his unsuccessful campaign to rout fellow Congresswoman Haley Stevens (D-Waterford) to become the Democratic standard bearer for Oakland County’s 11th congressional district, came an article by The New Yorker which focused on a few congressional staffers who “broke from a tradition of deference” and staged an unprecedented sit-in at Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office, demanding action on climate change. The sit-in took place on July 14, a few weeks before Michigan’s August 2 primary and the Senate passed on August 8, by a 51-50 vote, the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes climate change action. The “leader of the pack” of congressional staffers, according to The New Yorker, was none other than Saul Levin, son of Andy – a legislative assistant for Rep. Cori Bush (D-Missouri). The article articulates that it has long been customary for aides to “not exist,” meaning to work to support their boss and not express their own opinions, in essence, toiling in the background. Saul “is one of several Democratic staffers who spend their free time organizing their progressive colleagues, through both formal channels (the Congressional Progressive Staff Association, the Climate Left Organizing Coalition) and less formal ones (happy hours, group chats),” the article says. Saul is also one of the organizers of Congressional Workers Union, which is working to unionize the small congressional offices in order secure better pay, safer working conditions and dignity on the jobs. Can it be a coincidence that working to unionize congressional workers in the last couple of years has been an urgent priority for Andy – one which he sponsored and was able to bring to a floor vote this May, with Democrats prevailing, 217-202. It’s unlikely to pass the Senate – but it did prompt Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to announce that minimum pay for staffers would be $45,000 as of September 1. Thanks, dad.