Former Lt. Governor Connie Binsfeld Dead at 89

The state of Michigan is morning the death of Former Lt. Governor Connie Binsfeld, who passed on Sunday at the age of 89.

Binsfeld lived on Glen Lake in Leelanau County. She was a Republican who served two terms as Lieutenant Governor under former Governor John Engler, from 1991 through 1998. She also served in the state House and Senate.

Binsfeld led commissions on adoptions and the state’s child welfare system. The Binsfeld Children’s Commission produced 197 proposed reforms for the welfare system, many of which were enacted.

While presiding over the Senate, Binsfeld was known for bringing the chamber to order with soft, rhythmic taps of the gavel that didn’t end until there was silence. She said it was a trick she learned as a schoolteacher.

Binsfeld began her political career as a Leelanau County commissioner and was elected to the Michigan House in 1974. She served four terms there and in 1982 won a seat in the Senate, where she led the fight to ban surrogate pregnancy for pay.

She also sponsored bills on domestic violence and protection of environmentally sensitive sand dunes, and served 10 years on the Great Lakes Commission.

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