United States Senator Debbie Stabenow
Born in Gladwin and raised in Clare, Debbie Stabenow was elected to the United States Senate in 2000 making history as the first woman Michigan elected to the U.S. Senate. Elected to the Ingham County Board of Commissioners in 1975 she went on to the State House in 1979, the State Senate in 1991 and to Congress in 1996 by defeating incumbent Dick Chrysler. Senator Stabenow was inspired to first run for office after leading a successful effort to stop the closure of a local nursing home. She was elected to the Ingham County Board of Commissioners when she was just 24 years old. Today, in addition to serving as Michigan’s senior U.S. Senator, Debbie Stabenow is a member of the Senate leadership.
Stabenow is respected for her ability to build coalitions to get things done. As Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and as a member of the Senate Energy, Finance, and Budget Committees, she plays a powerful role in shaping our nation’s manufacturing, health care, and agriculture policies. As Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health Care, Senator Stabenow is a champion for Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. She has been recognized for her success making prescription drugs more affordable. Debbie is known for her commitment to bringing jobs back to Michigan, making high-quality affordable health care available to every American, advocating for Michigan’s agricultural industry and protecting our Great Lakes.
Senator Stabenow has two grown children, Todd and Michelle; a daughter-in-law, Sara; a son-in-law, Scott; and four beautiful grandchildren. She earned both her B.A. and her M.S.W. from Michigan State University in 1972 and 1975, respectively. Stabenow has also worked as a social worker.
Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, 12th District
Debbie’s first elected position was to Wayne State University’s Board of Governors in 2006. Elected to Congress in 2014, she represents Michigan’s 12th District and has been recognized as one of the 25 hardest-working Members of Congress.
As a strong voice for the Midwest on issues that matter most to working families, Dingell serves as a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and is a leader on efforts to grow manufacturing, improve access to quality affordable health care, support seniors and veterans and protect the Great Lakes. Debbie is focused on forging bipartisan solutions that support Michigan’s families and economy, including improving long-term care and ushering in the future of the American auto industry.
A recognized national advocate for women and children, Debbie successfully fought to have women included in federally-funded health research, and advocated for greater awareness of issues directly related to women’s health, including breast cancer and women’s heart health. She is a founder and past chair of the National Women’s Health Resource Center and the Children’s Inn at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Before being elected to Congress, Debbie worked in the auto industry for more than three decades, where she was President of the General Motors (GM) Foundation and a senior executive responsible for public affairs. She was also Chairman of the Wayne State University (WSU) Board of Governors, and continues to fight to make education more affordable and accessible in Congress.
Debbie was born in Detroit, Michigan and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Georgetown University.
Gubernatorial Candidate Gretchen Whitmer
Gretchen was first elected to the State Senate in March 2006 after serving as a member of the Michigan House of Representatives from 2000 to 2006. In 2010 her Democratic colleagues unanimously chose Whitmer to be the Senate Democratic Leader, making her the first woman to lead a party caucus in the Senate.
Whitmer has a record of fighting for Michigan and is known for her longtime efforts in leading the fight for women’s access to reproductive health care, paid family leave, equal pay, and for her work pushing back some of the most egregious anti-women bills to come out of the Capitol.
As Senate Democratic Leader, Whitmer was pivotal in brokering the deal that expanded health care to 630,000 people through Healthy Michigan, which also increased access to preventative care like cancer screenings and prenatal care to rural and low income women. And Whitmer believes that working men and women deserve a raise, which is why she helped pass a minimum wage increase with a cost-of-living adjustment. Furthermore, Gretchen was the caretaker for her mother, when she was dying of brain cancer – all while giving birth to and caring for her first daughter. That’s one of many reasons Whitmer fought for paid family leave so workers can take time off to care for a sick loved one or new baby and why she took a stand for equal pay for equal work.
Whitmer earned her bachelor’s and law degrees from Michigan State University in 1993 and 1998, respectively. Her professional experience includes working as Ingham County Prosecutor and a corporate litigator for the law firm for Dickinson Wright. She currently lives in East Lansing with her husband Marc Mallory and their five children.
Gretchen Driskell for Congress
Gretchen Driskell is a candidate for Congress in Michigan’s 7th district. A life-long public servant, she spent six years on Saline City Council, 14 years as Saline Mayor, and four years as State Representative for Michigan’s 52nd State House District. Her political journey began when she was recruited to raise funds for the Saline Recreation Center some 25 years ago. In 2016 Driskell outperformed the top of the ticket and is challenging the republican incumbent for a second time in 2018. Driskell’s commitment to public service is an extension of her belief in the Michigan values of vibrant communities, world-class public schools and Michigan businesses offering great jobs to Michigan talent, based in a state with unique beauty and natural resources.
In addition to her work building economic success in Saline, Gretchen worked hard to create a larger coalition of women in Lansing as state representative. During her tenure, she worked to strengthen the progressive women’s caucus, participated in the equal pay bill package, and sponsored legislation to support reproductive rights. Always focused on addressing the concerns of her constituents, in 2014 Driskell worked to find an alternative solution to the expansion of a sand and gravel pit in the Chelsea community and fought to protect the right of local governments to regulate mining activity in their communities. A fierce advocate for public education, Gretchen relentlessly lobbied to address the funding cuts that threaten our public schools.
Driskell earned her B.S. in accounting from Lynchburg College and her MBA in finance from the George Washington University. Her professional experience includes working as a realtor. Gretchen continues to live in Saline and is the proud mother of three children; Ryan, Matthew an Ensign in the U.S. Navy, and Marielle and her granddaughter Chloe.
Great Women of the Great Lakes Event Emcee
Barbara McQuade is a law professor at the University of Michigan, where she teaches criminal law and national security. She is also a legal analyst for MSNBC.
From 2010-2017, McQuade served as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. She was appointed by President Barack Obama, and was the first woman to serve in her position. McQuade also served as vice chair of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee and co-chaired the Terrorism and National Security Subcommittee.
Significant cases during McQuade’s tenure included:
- the conviction of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and more than 30 others on public corruption charges;
the conviction and life sentence of an Al-Qaeda operative for attempting to blow up an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day. 2009;
- the conviction and 45-year sentence of a doctor who lied to patients about having cancer so that he could bill Medicare for chemotherapy treatments;
- the conviction and $4.3 billion fine against Volkswagen for cheating on emissions tests; and
- the conviction and $1 billion fine against Takata Corp. for fraudulently concealing defective airbags.
Before becoming U.S. Attorney, McQuade worked as federal prosecutor, practiced law at the firm of Butzel Long, and served as a law clerk to U.S. District Judge Bernard A. Friedman in Detroit.
Born in Detroit, McQuade is a graduate of the University of Michigan and its law school. She and her husband have four children. She serves on the boards of SafeHouse Center, Crime Stoppers, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, and the Hudson-Webber Foundation.