Michigan Women’s Spotlight: Candice Miller

Blog - Candice Miller_16Did you know that the first Michigan statewide elected official to ever achieve a margin of victory of more than 1 million votes was Candice Miller?

U.S. Rep. Candice Miller began her career in public service in 1979 when she served on the Harrison Township Board of Trustees in Macomb County. She would go on in 1980 to become the first woman ever elected Harrison Township supervisor. After 12 years as supervisor, she was elected Macomb County treasurer in 1992.

In 1994, Miller ran a historic campaign for Michigan secretary of state, defeating six-term incumbent Richard Austin to become the first woman elected to that position in Michigan. She was overwhelmingly re-elected in 1998. She won every county in the state and tallied a historic margin of victory: 1 million votes!

As secretary of state, Miller improved the quality of service at secretary of state branch offices; implemented a statewide uniform voting system; and ensured that Michigan had free, fair and open elections.

Following her two successful terms, Miller ran for Congress in Michigan’s 10th District in 2002. After being elected, she quickly rose to prominent roles in Washington and now serves as chairwoman of the Committee of House Administration and vice-chairwoman of the House Committee on Homeland Security. Currently, she is the only woman in the House to serve as a chair of a committee.

As chairwoman of the Committee on House Administration, Miller and her fellow committee members are tasked with oversight of federal elections and the day-to-day operations of the House. One of Miller’s major accomplishments through her influential position was to end the practice of taxpayer dollars funding political party conventions. She was able to redirect the funds to pediatric research.

According to the Michigan Women’s Historical Center, Miller is only the third woman in Michigan to have been elected to both state government and the U.S. Congress.

Miller announced last year that she would retire from Congress at the conclusion of her seventh term. In recognition of her historic achievements and her national leadership, Miller was inducted into the Michigan Women of Fame in 2015.

Have a Blessed Good Friday and a Happy Easter

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” — John 3:16 (King James Version)

Sen. John Proos, R- St. Joseph, is a public servant, father, husband and devout Catholic. He recently sat down to discuss his faith and wish everyone a happy Easter.

In this short video, Proos talks openly about what the seasons of Lent and Easter mean to him, highlights a special family celebration and mentions the loved ones his family has recently lost.

Horn Hometown Tour: Flushing Community Schools

Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, continued his 2016 Hometown Tour series last week with a stop in Flushing for an inside look at Flushing Community Schools. Horn spent the morning touring various locations in the school district — meeting administrators, educators and students.

In honor of March is Reading Month, Horn was able to stop at two of Flushing’s elementary schools. Horn read to second- and fourth-grade classes at Central Elementary and two fourth-grade classes at Elms Elementary. In addition to reading to students, he also took questions from the kids and discussed the duties of a legislator.

The next stop was Flushing Middle School. Horn visited both a seventh-grade social studies class and an eighth-grade American history class, where he discussed the benefit and importance of a politically informed and involved populous. Students also had the chance to ask questions relating to the life and responsibilities of being a state senator. Horn also had an opportunity to serve lunch and meet with students as they ate, and be interviewed in the school’s media room by two students.

Horn made his final stop at Flushing High School to visit the eleventh-grade American government class. They discussed the upcoming changes the students will be experiencing in life and why it is important to exercise their civic duties. He also discussed the cost of college, the state’s role in such costs and other ways that government will begin to play a role in their lives as they finish up their careers at Flushing Community Schools and continue on their journey in life.

Anne Blankenhorn named Farley Award winner


Congratulations to Anne Blankenhorn on winning the 2016 Jon Farley Exceptional Legislative Staffer Award!!

The Farley Award was established to honor Jon Farley, former chief of staff for state Sen. Dave Robertson who passed away in 2013. The award seeks to commend Farley’s devoted service to the Legislature by acknowledging staff from a member office, caucus-affiliated position or nonpartisan legislative service bureau for similar qualities.

Anne has worked for the Legislature for nearly 18 years as a member of the Senate Majority Policy Office, serving as the policy advisor for the Senate Committee on Education and the Appropriation subcommittee on K-12, School Aid and Department of Education.

Anne is responsible for helping draft bills, analyzing legislation, preparing for the Senate education committee and Appropriations subcommittee hearings, meeting with stakeholders, and advising senators on legislation and ideas for legislation.

Prior to joining the policy office, Anne taught French and computer literacy for two years at a charter school. She also taught in a private school in Los Angeles, where she lived for five years. Before moving to California, she taught French at Lansing Community College. She also worked as a substitute teacher in Los Angeles and in several areas in Michigan.

Being named an exceptional legislative staffer is a true symbol of Anne’s hard work and diligence that has been recognized not only by those who work in the Legislature, but the elected members as well.

Michigan Senate Republicans would like to thank Anne for years of quality service to the state of Michigan, and her tireless work on behalf of the education community.

Nominees and this year’s winner were honored during the third annual Jon Farley Exceptional Legislative Staffer Award reception downtown at the Nuthouse on Wednesday.

For additional photos of the ceremony and this year’s winner, please visit www.JonFarleyAward.org or www.facebook.com/JonFarleyExceptionalStafferAward.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Throughout Michigan today, many families will celebrate their Irish heritage by wearing green and possibly enjoying a traditional Irish dinner. Sen. Peter MacGregor recently sat down to briefly talk about his Irish roots.

‘Lauren’s Law’ would help increase organ donations

There are nearly enough people currently in need of a life-saving organ transplant to fill Ford Field in Detroit — twice.

Although 90 percent of Americans say they support organ donation, only about 30 percent of adults nationwide have signed up as donors. While roughly half of Michigan adults are currently registered, it’s not enough to meet the need.

This month, the Michigan Senate unanimously approved Sen. John Proos’ legislation, known as “Lauren’s Law,” which would help increase the number of registered organ donors in the state.

Lauren’s Law is about doing all we can to give the gift of life to those in need of an organ transplant.

According to Donate Life America, more than 120,000 men, women and children nationwide currently need an organ transplant; every 10 minutes another name is added to the national organ transplant waiting list; and an average of 21 people die each day waiting for an available organ.

In Michigan, there are more than 3,500 people currently awaiting a transplant. In many cases, the transplant has the potential to save the recipient’s life.

Senate Bill 541 would require that the secretary of state’s office inquire whether someone wishes to be added to the Michigan anatomical gift donor registry when the individual applies for a driver’s license.

Proos’ measure is named “Lauren’s Law” after Lauren Shields, who at age 9 was placed on life support while waiting for a heart transplant, which she eventually received. She became the public face of organ donation in New York and helped pass a similar law there.

March is National Kidney Month and Proos got involved in this issue at the initiative of John Grinnell, a constituent who received a kidney transplant 29 years ago.

Becoming an organ donor is easy to do, yet it can be the most impactful thing in someone else’s life that any of us ever do.

For information about organ donation or to sign up to become a donor, residents may visit the Gift of Life Michigan website at GiftofLifeMichigan.org.

The Top 10 Michigan consumer complaints

Fighting fraud, scams and bogus charities are just a few of the things the Consumer Protection Division of the department of attorney general handles. This division is focused on the important work of stopping fraudsters and raising awareness of deceitful scams.

In honor of National Consumer Protection Week, the attorney general’s office announced the top 10 Michigan consumer complaint categories for 2015:

  1. Credit and financial concerns;
  2. Telecommunications, cable and satellite TV;
  3. Retail;
  4. Motor vehicle and automobiles;
  5. Internet;
  6. Personal service providers;
  7. Landlord and tenant;
  8. Gasoline, fuel and energy;
  9. Contractors; and
  10. Health service providers.

The Consumer Protection Division is an integral part of the DNA of the department of attorney general. The cases that the Consumer Protection Division handles are vital to protecting Michigan taxpayers. Whether those cases involve children who have been ignored by a parent failing to pay child support, or environmental issues, even Medicaid fraud or patient abuse, the department of attorney general spends countless hours mediating complaints that fall within their jurisdiction.

However, not all consumer complaints or inquiries are handled by the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division. By law, many other state and federal agencies and departments are involved in assisting consumers. To direct your complaint or inquiry to the appropriate agency, consult the Consumer Complaint Directory, which can be found at www.michigan.gov/ag. For example, many complaints surrounding cars should be reported to the secretary of state’s office.

To file a complaint, Michigan residents should visit the attorney general’s website: www.michigan.gov/ag. A written complaint is the most efficient route to reach the consumer protection team and can be sent to:

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette
Consumer Protection Division
P.O. Box 30213
Lansing, MI 48909

Celebrating Red Cross Month

For 135 years, the American Red Cross has been one of our country’s most impactful and dedicated humanitarian organizations.

Today, the Red Cross brings help and hope to people in need — every eight minutes!

March is Red Cross Month — a time to honor and celebrate a tremendous organization and the everyday heroes who help it make a huge impact in our communities.

The Senate Republicans are proud to have passed legislation that would give all Michigan residents the opportunity to donate to the Red Cross with a simple check on their state income tax form.

The legislation would create an individual income tax checkoff in support of the American Red Cross in Michigan — allowing taxpayers to choose to make a voluntary donation of $5, $10, or more of their income tax return to the organization. Donations received from the checkoff would be distributed to all of the Michigan chapters of the Red Cross.

The Red Cross is there in times of great need — from helping a single family after a home fire to assisting an entire community after a natural disaster.

In addition to their humanitarian efforts, they’re also is the country’s largest single supplier of blood and blood products and our leading provider of health and safety courses, such as CPR, first aid and lifeguard training.

To schedule a time to donate blood, make a financial donation or learn about other ways you can help support the mission of the American Red Cross, visit www.RedCross.org.

March is National Reading Month

Reading is vital to a successful education and lays the foundation to a rewarding future. Learning to read at a young age has been shown to increase a student’s ability to remember facts, comprehend information and be successful in both school and his or her career.

March is celebrated as National Reading Month as a time to encourage children to pick up a book and read.

To help promote the importance of reading, Senate Republican members will travel throughout the Great Lakes State to read with Michigan students in classrooms from Monroe to Marquette.

For 2016, senators recorded short videos about March is Reading Month — sharing their favorite books with viewers and encouraging adults to read with kids to help develop good reading habits.

Nearly one in six children who are not reading proficiently by the end of third grade do not graduate from high school on time, a rate four times greater than that for proficient readers.

Literacy is perhaps the most important factor to achieving successful futures.

The Senate Republicans encourage parents to join in the effort to help children succeed through reading. A simple way parents can help is by picking up a book and reading to their children each night.

As we celebrate National Reading Month, let’s strive to achieve the important goals of engaging our children about reading and opening their eyes to new worlds and adventures.

Michigan Women’s Spotlight: Remembering Connie Binsfeld

Womens History - Connie BinsfeldDid you know that Connie Binsfeld was the first woman in Michigan to hold leadership posts in Michigan’s House, Senate and Executive Branch?

Born in 1924 in Munising, Michigan, Connie Binsfeld had an extraordinary career serving the state of Michigan in many different posts. After graduating from Siena Heights College, she married and settled with her family near Detroit, where she taught high school history and government. Soon after relocating with her family to Leelanau County, she headed a citizens’ council to assist in planning the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore. This was the beginning of a long career in public service.

Binsfeld was elected in 1974 to the Michigan House of Representatives, where she would serve four terms. She would go on to serve two terms in the Michigan Senate. During her time in the Legislature, she was known for tackling domestic violence and standing up for the environment.

During the 1990 election cycle, Senate Majority Leader and Republican gubernatorial candidate John Engler selected Binsfeld as his running mate. She would become Michigan’s 60th lieutenant governor in 1991. During her two terms as lieutenant governor, Binsfeld headed the Binsfeld Children’s Commission, which investigated issues related to adoption and the child welfare system. Her work on the commission resulted in 197 reforms and 20 laws relating to policy recommendations.

She earned many honors throughout her career, including Honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters from Notre Dame, Northern Michigan University, Grand Valley State University and other prestigious institutions of higher learning. In 1998, she was named to the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame. Of all her accolades, she was most proud to be selected as Michigan Mother of the Year in 1977.

Binsfeld passed away on Jan. 12, 2014 in Glen Lake, Michigan. The positive effects of her long career in public service are still felt today throughout Michigan. From protecting the Sleeping Bear Dunes to fighting domestic violence, Connie Binsfeld left a positive mark on the state she served for generations to come.