Berman was tireless advocate for women, children’s issues

Michigan lost a pioneer late last week when former state House of Representatives member and longtime advocate and supporter of women’s rights Maxine Berman succumbed to lung cancer.

Berman, who was 71, died Friday. She served in the state House for 14 years, from 1983 to 1996. She was a former school teacher and University of Michigan graduate who worked as a consultant and tireless advocate for women’s health, at one time leading the Women’s Health Network of Michigan.

In 1994, she wrote a book about her experiences in the State Legislature. Its tongue in cheek title was, “The Only Boobs in the House are Men: A Veteran Woman Legislator Lifts the Lid on Politics Macho Style.”

She worked for Gov. Jennifer Granholm, from 2003 to 2008 as director of special projects and was later named the first female to hold the Griffin Endowed Chair in American Government at Central Michigan University. She retired from that position in 2013, only to be enshrined in the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame in two years later.

Widely known as an official who was easily approachable and well schooled in the intricacies of policy, Berman did honorable public service across a wide variety of elected and appointed stations. She deserves to be remembered as someone who breached barriers while remaining a strong voice for families, children and women.