Traverse City — Former Michigan Lt. Gov. Connie Binsfeld has died. She was 89.
Department of Military and Veterans Affairs senior policy adviser Jason Allen told the Associated Press that Binsfeld died Sunday. She had been in hospice care. Allen is a former state legislator from Traverse City and a friend of the Binsfeld family.
Binsfeld lived in Leelanau County’s Glen Lake.
As John Engler's running-mate, Binsfeld became the second female lieutenant governor in 1991, succeeding the first woman in that position, Martha Griffiths, who served since 1983 with Gov. James Blanchard.
Binsfeld served two terms as lieutenant governor under former Gov. John Engler from 1991-98. She declined to run again when Engler sought a third term. She had also served in the state House and Senate.
Binsfeld was known for her work on children’s issues.
In 1994, she helped establish the Chance at Childhood Foundation. In 1998, Binsfeld joined Engler in announcing an endowment at Michigan State University to fund a family advocacy program to search for ways to train more advocates for children in the courts when they are abused, neglected, in foster care or up for adoption.
"She has mobilized many, many people ... to make sure every child does indeed have a chance at childhood," Engler said at the announcement. "She has planted many, many seeds. She's the Connie Appleseed of children's programs."
Binsfeld was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame in 1998 for her achievements in children’s rights, the environment and politics.