|Former Michigan Governor William Milliken congratulates Senator Debbie Stabenow at the Michigan Land Use Institute’s annual Milliken Dinner at Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay on July 27. Stabenow received MLUI’s Helen Milliken Legacy Award, named in honor of Michigan’s former first lady. (Photo: Gary Howe)|
The Michigan Land Use Institute honored Senator Debbie Stabenow with its Helen Milliken Legacy Award at a July 27 dinner in honor of the former first lady and Gov. William Milliken.
MLUI created the award to recognize those who carry forward Helen Milliken’s legacy of environmental advocacy and civil discourse. Stabenow is the first recipient.
“Senator Debbie Stabenow is one of the rare leaders who not only embodies Helen Milliken’s deep-seated values, but carries them forward with the same unflappable poise and steadfast determination,” MLUI Executive Director Hans Voss said.
Senator Stabenow said she was honored to receive an award with her name next to Helen Milliken’s. She pointed to Helen and Gov. Milliken as an inspiration, dating back to her freshman term as a state legislator during Milliken’s last term as governor.
“He’s a Republican, Helen’s a Republican, I’m a Democrat, I’m a freshman. I mean, who am I? Yet Helen was always there, gracious, and supporting my efforts,” Stabenow said. “And the governor… he was willing to have his door open as part of his job and leadership in public service.
“I’ll never forget that. I’ll never forget so many things, but especially the graciousness, the willingness to work with people across the aisle, to show leadership, and the great vision of both of them.”
Stabenow also recognized Helen Milliken’s importance to MLUI.
“How fortunate this organization has been to have Gov. Bill Milliken and Helen Milliken as part of that driving force. No wonder you’re so good; no wonder you’ve done so much,” Stabenow said. “Helen’s great passion of protecting not only this beautiful region, but our whole state, and the country, is something that we have a responsibility to carry on. “
MLUI’s annual Milliken Dinner honors the many supporters who help the Institute carry out its mission. This year, the event was held at picturesque Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay in a refurbished barn to highlight the importance of local agriculture to the region.