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WXYZ Editorial: Governor William G. Milliken earned a legacy of civility, humility and bi-partisanship for Michigan

Posted: 6:13 PM, Oct 24, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-27 10:49:31-04
William G. Milliken photo

WXYZ DETROIT — He walked softly but left a lasting legacy on Michigan. The late Governor William G. Milliken will be remembered for political civility, personal humility and his bi-partisan approach to governing. At 97, he passed away as Michigan's oldest former governor and the state's longest-serving one.

Milliken was a third generation, Traverse City, Republican Party politician. Before becoming Michigan's 44th governor, he had served as a Purple Heart combat veteran, department store executive, state senator and lieutenant governor. He was a passionate political moderate who championed Detroit and our environment. He led the way for the Great Lakes State to have the nation's most aggressive bottle deposit law. Under his watch, Michigan became the first state in the nation to ban PCB's. Milliken was a fierce protector of the Great Lakes and revenue sharing for cities.

Milliken was a third generation, Traverse City, Republican Party politician. Before becoming Michigan's 44th governor, he had served as a Purple Heart combat veteran, department store executive, state senator and lieutenant governor. He was a passionate political moderate who championed Detroit and our environment. He led the way for the Great Lakes State to have the nation's most aggressive bottle deposit law. Under his watch, Michigan became the first state in the nation to ban PCB's. Milliken was a fierce protector of the Great Lakes and revenue sharing for cities.

But like most chief executives, his tenure was marked with challenges. Regional transit, school desegregation, a General Motors strike, and a sagging economy in the 1980's, contributed to his political legacy.

Throughout it all, Milliken strived for compromise. He was a firm believer that good government hinged on being able to respectfully disagree with others.

Bill Milliken was a true statesman who loved his political party, his state and his country. But most of all, he was a leader guided by his conscience and decency.

I'm Mike Murri, V.P. & General Manager
Broadcast: October 24 - 27, 2019