GLADSTONE - U.S. Sen. Carl Levin stopped by Jones Elementary Thursday afternoon to meet with fourth-grade students.
"If people want to get ahold of Sen. Levin they have to go through my wife and then she talks to Sen. Levin," explained teacher Brent Berglund to the five classes of fourth-graders waiting to hear from the senator.
When the senator arrived, he explained to the students that he was one of two senators from the state of Michigan. "Even though one state has 30 million people and the other state only has one million people they each get the same number of senators in the U.S. Senate," said Levin.
Levin avoided political issues but did tell the students he was supporting President Obama and Vice President Biden in the Nov. 6 election.
"That's who I very much believe are the better choices, but we won't go into that today, other than to tell you that I am a Democrat," he said.
After Levin had introduced himself, he took questions from the students. "Do I want to be president? No. Do I have my own private jet? No. I fly around just like everyone else. I go in someone else's jet - usually Delta Airlines," he said in response to two students sitting near him.
United States Sen. Carl Levin visited Jones Elementary in Gladstone yesterday to meet with fourth-grade students. After the senator explained his position the children were given a chance to ask questions. (Daily Press photo by Ilsa Matthes)
When asked what he did for Michigan, Levin told the students the senate passed laws that created jobs and supported education, among other things.
"We build roads and bridges. We pay the FBI and the court system. We, of course, pay the men and women who are in the Army, and the Navy, and Air Force, and the Marines, and the Coast Guard," he said.
Levin, chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, explained to the students that he and other senators made sure troops were paid, properly trained, and equipped. According to Levin, the president has always signed the yearly Defense Authorization Bill.
One student asked if the president gave the senate permission to pass laws. Levin explained that the president could disapprove a bill, but if two-thirds of Congress voted to approve it anyway, it would still become a law. "The president doesn't give us permission. He has power to say no, but then we have the power to say yes anyway."
Near the end of his time with the students, Levin was asked who he worked for.
"I work for the people of Michigan. The people of Michigan, your moms, and your dads, and your grandparents, and uncles and aunts, and all kinds of people who are old enough to vote," he said.