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Candice Miller inducted into Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame

By: Sarah Wojcik | Shelby - Utica News | Published November 9, 2015

 Congresswoman Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, addresses the crowd during the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame ceremony at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing Oct. 29.

Congresswoman Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, addresses the crowd during the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame ceremony at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing Oct. 29.

Photo provided by Katie Vincentz

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On Oct. 29, Congresswoman Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, was one of six contemporary and four historical women in the 32nd class of the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame.

Miller joined the ranks of more than 285 women who have been honored for wide-ranging and lasting achievements by the Michigan Women’s Historical Center in Lansing.

Emily Fijol, executive director of the Historical Center, said the Michigan Women’s Studies Association receives more than 100 nominations each year, which then filter through two rounds of judges.

The Historical Center’s museum and library opened in 1987, and the Michigan Women’s Studies Association was founded in 1973 on the campus of Michigan State University.

“The Hall of Fame dinner is really remarkable,” Fijol said. “It started at a time when there weren’t a lot of events honoring the accomplishments of women. It was usually just men getting awards, and there was no outlet to honor the hard work of women.”

The core mission of the MWSA, a nonprofit group, is to celebrate women’s accomplishments and honor their contributions, Fijol said.

“Usually, women are very humble, saying it was a team effort. But we say, ‘No, please, tell us your amazing story, what struggles you had and how you overcame them,’” she said. “(The Hall of Fame reception) is incredibly inspiring. There’s not one year when I don’t cry.”

She said anyone can nominate any woman from the region, either living or deceased, for any kind of accomplishment. She said the museum also keeps a file of all submissions, which has helped researchers in the past.

“It’s a tool for capturing women’s history,” she said.

Fijol said she was impressed with Miller’s long list of firsts.

Among them, Miller was Michigan’s first female secretary of state, the first female Macomb County treasurer and the first female Harrison Township supervisor.

She currently is serving her seventh term in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Michigan’s 10th District. She is the House’s only female chair, leading the Committee on House Administration. She also serves as the vice chair of the Homeland Security Committee and chairs its Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee.

The MWSA highlighted Miller’s efforts to improve national security, water quality and the preservation of the Great Lakes.

“It’s just an incredible honor for them to include me in this year’s group of very distinguished inductees,” Miller said. “A couple of my friends nominated me — a couple of women, a bipartisan group.”

She said they didn’t tell her about the nomination until she had been selected.

“It’s really very humbling and very exciting as well,” Miller said. “They had a little video of all of the inductees that evening. They had us give an acceptance speech and gave us a beautiful medal.”

She said she enjoyed learning about the various things that each woman had done.

“All of the women were very fascinating and ranged in causes from reforms, to good government, to education, to advancement for women,” Miller said. “I think every one of them left a lasting impression.”

The morning of the reception, she said, she was one of four people counting the votes that would establish Paul Ryan as the new speaker of the House. After that, she said, she got on a plane to attend the Women’s Hall of Fame ceremony.

“My grandmother was really sort of my mentor,” Miller said. “She would be absolutely amazed at the life I have been privileged to lead. It really just struck me (that night).”

For more information about the Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame, call (517) 484-1880 or visit www.michiganwomenshalloffame.org.

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