(MAINNEWS) – WASHINGTON, Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, the chair of the agriculture committee and a key lawmaker on electric vehicle and cryptocurrency policy, said on Thursday she will not seek re-election in 2024.
Stabenow, a Democrat, is in her fourth term in the U.S. Senate.
Stabenow’s seat could be crucial to control of the Senate in 2025. Democrats currently control the Senate by a narrow 51-49 majority but must defend 23 seats in the 2024 election, including seats of three independents who caucus with Democrats, while Republicans have 10 seats to defend.
Stabenow wrote legislation in 2007 to create a U.S. government auto loan program that helped fund low-emissions vehicle production for Ford Motor (F.N), Tesla (TSLA.O) and Nissan (7201.T) and was a key advocate of the government rescue of General Motors (GM.N) and Chrysler in 2008.
Stabenow, 72, a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, has been an advocate of expanding electric vehicle tax credits and other tax incentives to produce batteries, EVs and more semiconductors in the United States.
“This is the moment for me to pass the torch,” Stabenow said in an interview. “I don’t want to do this when I am being rolled out in a wheelchair.”
She has pushed for Buy America requirements and other steps to boost U.S. manufacturing.
“The things I have worked on are to emphasize making things here and incentivize making things here and bringing jobs home,” Stabenow said.
Stabenow will help lead negotiations in the coming months over a massive farm spending bill passed every five years that funds U.S. public food benefits and farm commodity programs.
The current $428 billion farm bill expires on Sept. 30 but could be extended by a few months. “I am confident we will get it done,” Stabenow said.
Stabenow reiterated Thursday that Congress needs to pass legislation in the wake of the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX saying lawmakers need to adopt “necessary safeguards to the digital commodities market.”
She said she was dumbfounded that former FTX Chief Executive Sam Bankman-Fried previously endorsed her bipartisan cryptocurrency legislation “that bans everything he did… He would have gotten caught sooner” if it had been in effect.
Several Michigan lawmakers are reportedly considering running but Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, a Michigan resident, said Thursday in a statement he is “not seeking any other job.”
By David Shepardson