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Holland – Patty Birkholz, a former southwestern Michigan lawmaker known for environmental and Great Lakes advocacy, has died at 74.

A spokesman and family statement say she died Thursday at an assisted living facility in Holland. The statement says Birkholz died “after a short battle with cancer.”

Birkholz served in the state House from 1997-2002 and Senate from 2003-10. The Republican also was a Saugatuck Township trustee and Allegan County treasurer.

After Birkholz left the statehouse, Gov. Rick Snyder appointed her director of the Office of the Great Lakes and Great Lakes Commission representative. Former President Barack Obama appointed her to the National Sea Grant Advisory Board.

The family says her achievements included helping pass a compact protecting Great Lakes water, water withdrawal assessment laws, ballast water standards and renewable energy mandates.

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