WLAM Mid-Michigan plans reception in honor of legislator/former attorney

by Sheila Pursglove
Legal News
A state senator will be honored when the Mid-Michigan Region Women Lawyers Association of Michigan’s (WLAM) annual Carolyn Stell Scholarship Award reception takes place from 5:30- 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 14 at Gilbert & Blake’s, 3554 Okemos Road in Okemos.
The award, named after East Lansing District Judge Carolyn Stell, was established to promote greater access to the legal system and to better serve the legal needs of women in the community by providing financial assistance to mid-Michigan women law students and to recognize their achievements.
The reception will honor Senator Gretchen Whitmer for her efforts to promote women within the legal community.
Whitmer, a Democrat representing the 23rd District, which encompasses the majority of Ingham County, believes adequate funding for education at all levels, early childhood, K-12 and higher education pays huge dividends in quality of life – a top-notch workforce, indirect health care savings, as well as justice system savings are all directly tied to education.
“The single most important factor to whether we grow and succeed is whether our people are educated and prepared for the jobs of tomorrow,” she says.
Whitmer, who earned her bachelor’s degree and law degree from Michigan State University, was elected to the State Senate in March 2006, where she serves on four standing committees: Judiciary, Finance, Education, and Agriculture.
She served as a member of the Michigan House of Representatives from 2000-06, where she was the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee for four years.
Prior to her political life, Whitmer was an attorney with the firm Dickinson Wright in Lansing. She practiced administrative law before the Ingham County Circuit Court and the Michigan Public Service Commission.
Whitmer, who lives in East Lansing with her two daughters, is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, Ingham County Bar Association, Women’s Economic Club, The National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, and Ingham County Democratic Party.
In July, she was one of 50 state legislators chosen from more than 180 nominees from across the country to participate in the 2010 Program for Emerging Political Leaders, sponsored by the State Legislative Leaders Foundation and Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.
“As a woman lawyer and legislator, I am acutely aware of the law’s role in expanding the possibilities for women in this country,” Whitmer says. “I have focused on issues important to women since becoming a member of the legislature, and I continually strive to strengthen our voice by supporting other women leaders in our state, both in the legal profession and in the legislature. For that reason I am truly honored by this recognition by the Women’s Lawyers Association.”
Cate McClure, Senate Democratic counsel in Lansing, says she enjoys working with Whitmer in the Senate, on Judiciary, and on the floor.
“Through her legislative initiatives Sen. Whitmer has clearly furthered the mission of our organization to help advance women in the legal profession and improve our judicial system, making her a perfect candidate for this award,” says McClure, a board member of WLAM – an organization that since 1919, has worked to secure the rights of women in society, advance the interests of women members of the legal profession, promote improvements in the administration of justice, and promote equality and social justice for all.
The reception includes complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. Suggested donation is $20 per person and donations of $75 or more will be featured in the program if received by October 11.