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William Milliken: Wikis


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William Milliken

In office
1969 – 1983
Preceded by George W. Romney
Succeeded by James Blanchard

Born March 26, 1922 (1922-03-26) (age 87)
Traverse City, Michigan
Political party Republican

William Grawn Milliken (born March 26, 1922), is an American politician and served as the 44th Governor of Michigan from January 1969 to January 1983.



Milliken was born in Traverse City, Michigan, the son of James T. Milliken, a mayor of Traverse City and a Michigan State Senator for the 27th District, 1941-50, and the grandson of James W. Milliken, also a State Senator from the 27th District, 1898-1900.[1] William G. Milliken served in the United States Army Air Force during World War II, flying fifty combat missions as a waist-gunner on B-24 bombers and survived two crash landings.[2]

Governor of Michigan

Like his father and grandfather, Milliken was elected as a state senator from the 27th District, serving from 1961 to 1964. He was Lieutenant Governor of Michigan from 1965 to 1969, and became governor after George W. Romney left office to serve in President Richard Nixon's cabinet. Milliken was subsequently elected to full four-year terms in 1970, 1974, and 1978. He was considered to be a moderate Republican governor in the Nelson A. Rockefeller mold. In June 1982 the governor led the formation of the Council of Great Lakes Governors.

Milliken was governor for 14 years and is the longest-serving governor in state history. With governors now limited to two elected terms in office, it is unlikely that any will serve longer than Milliken.

In December 1982, Milliken appointed Dorothy Comstock Riley to the Michigan Supreme Court to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Blair Moody. Riley had run for election to the Supreme Court in the 1982 general election and had been defeated. Milliken was leaving office in less than a month and newly-elected Democratic Governor James Blanchard argued he should have made the appointment to replace Moody rather than Milliken. In 1983, the other Supreme Court Justices voted 4-2 to remove Riley from the court. Riley was elected to the Court in 1984.

Former governor

In 2004, Milliken broke with party ranks to endorse John Kerry in his bid to unseat George W. Bush as President of the United States: "The truth is that President George W. Bush does not speak for me or for many other moderate Republicans on a very broad cross section of issues."[3]

In 2008 Governor Milliken endorsed John McCain for President, but backed away from his endorsement in October after McCain's campaign began attacking Democratic candidate Barack Obama. Milliken told the Grand Rapids Press "He is not the John McCain I endorsed." Milliken voiced disquiet at the direction of the Republican Party: "Increasingly, the party is moving toward rigidity, and I don't like that. I think Gerald Ford would hold generally the same view I'm holding on the direction of the Republican Party."[4]


In fall 2009, the state of Michigan named a new state park (William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor) in honor of the former Governor.[5]


Political offices
Preceded by
T. John Lesinski
Lieutenant Governor of Michigan
Succeeded by
Thomas F. Schweigert
Preceded by
George W. Romney
Governor of Michigan
Succeeded by
James Blanchard

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