Biographies of Lieutenant Governors of Michigan, 1899 to Present
and Listing of Lieutenant Governors, 1835-1898
John D. Cherry, Democrat
John D. Cherry, a Democrat from Genesee County, was born May 5, 1951 in Sulphur Springs, Texas. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Michigan in 1973 and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Michigan-Flint in 1984. Cherry served as the political director for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO until he was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 1982; he served two terms in the House before being elected to the Michigan Senate in 1986. Cherry worked as the Senate Democratic Floor Leader from 1990-1995 and as Senate Democratic Leader from 1995-2002. In 2002 he was elected Lieutenant Governor alongside Jennifer Granholm.
Dick Posthumus, Republican
Dick Posthumus, a Republican from Alto, was born on July 19, 1950 in Hastings. He received a degree in Agricultural Economics and Public Affairs Management from Michigan State University. Posthumus was elected to the Michigan State Senate in 1982 and was re- elected in 1986, 1990, and 1994. He served as the Senate Majority Leader from 1991-1998. In 1998 he was elected Lieutenant Governor alongside John Engler.
Connie B. Binsfeld, Republican
Connie B. Binsfeld, a Republican, is the only woman in Michigan history to have held leadership positions in the House, Senate, and the Executive Office. In 1974, Binsfeld was elected to the State House of Representatives, where she served four terms. She moved on to the State Senate, where she served two terms, and was elected Lieutenant Governor alongside Governor John Engler on the Republican ticket in 1990. Binsfeld amd Engler were re-elected in 1994 and served until 1999.
Martha W. Griffiths, Democrat
Martha W. Griffiths, a Democrat from Romeo, was born on January 29, 1912 in Pierce City, Missouri. She earned her law degree from University of Michigan and was admitted to the Michigan Bar in 1941.Griffiths was admitted to practice before Michigan’s Supreme Court in 1955 and served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1955-1975, where she sponsored and successfully guided the Equal Rights Amendment through Congress. In 1982 Griffiths was elected Lieutenant Governor; she was re- elected in 1986 and served until 1991.
James H. Brickley, Republican
1979-1983 and 1971-1975
James H. Brickley, a Republican, was born in Flint, Michigan on November 15, 1928. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in philosophy and law at the University of Detroit and his master’s degree in public and administrative law from New York University. He served as a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation before establishing his own private law practice in Detroit, where he also served on the common council and as the Wayne County Chief Assistant Prosecutor. In 1971 Brickley was elected Lieutenant Governor, a post he held for four years. In 1979 he was once again elected to the position and served until 1983.
James J. Damman, Republican
James J. Damman, a Republican, was born on January 16, 1933 in Grosse Pointe Park. Damman received his degree in marketing from the University of Detroit in 1954. He served in the United States Army from 1955-1957, was Troy City Commissioner, and was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 1970 and 1972. In 1974 Damman was elected Lieutenant Governor; he was re- elected in 1976 and served until 1979.
Thomas F. Schweigert, Republican
Thomas F. Schweigert, a Republican from Petoskey, was born on September 29, 1917 in Detroit. He received a degree in forestry from Michigan State University and worked as a forester and land surveyor. Schweigert served in World War II. He was elected to the Michigan State Senate in 1962 and re- elected for three more terms before serving as Lieutenant Governor from March 20 to December 21, 1970.
William G. Milliken, Republican
William G. Milliken, a Republican from Traverse City, was born on March 26, 1922 in Traverse City. He graduated from Yale University and served as president of J.W. Milliken, Inc., a department store. Milliken served on the Traverse City Chamber of Commerce, the Northwestern Michigan College Board of Trustees, and the Greater Michigan, Inc. Board of Directors. He was wounded during World War II while serving in the Army Air Force. Milliken was elected to the Michigan State Senate in 1960 and 1962; he served as the Majority Floor Leader in 1963. Milliken became the first Lieutenant Governor to be elected to a 4-year term in 1965, serving until 1969.
T. John Lesinski, Democrat
T. John Lesinski, a Democrat from Detroit, was born on April 28, 1925 in Detroit. He graduated from University of Detroit Law School in 1950, served as warrant officer in the Maritime Service with action in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian theatres during World War II, and was a member of the law firm of Lesinski & Paruk of Detroit. Lesinski was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 1950 and served there for ten years. He was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1960 and re- elected in 1962.
John B. Swainson, Democrat
John B. Swainson, a Democrat from Plymouth, was born July 31, 1925 in Windsor, Ontario. He received a law degree from University of North Carolina and served in the 95th Infantry Division in France and Germany during World War II. He lost both legs in a land mind explosion in 1944. Swainson was elected to the Michigan State Senate in 1954 and again in 1956 before being elected Lieutenant Governor in 1958. He served until 1960.
Phillip A. Hart, Democrat
Phillip A. Hart, a Democrat from Birmingham, was born on December 12, 1912 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Hart attended Georgetown University and the University of Michigan Law School, graduating with his J.D. in 1937. He worked in various positions before serving in the United States Army from 1941-1946. Hart was wounded at Utah Beach, Normandy in 1944, was hospitalized for five months, and returned to his division for the remainder of the war. He was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1954 and again in 1956.
Clarence A. Reid, Republican
Clarence A. Reid, a Republican from Detroit, was born in Circleville, Ohio. Reid attended University of Michigan Law School and was admitted to the bar in 1920. A World War I veteran, Reid served in the Michigan State Senate for five terms and was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1953. He served one term at the post.
William C. Vandenburg, Republican
William C. Vandenburg, a Republican from Holland, was born and raised in Holland. He organized the Vandenburg Oil Company in 1919, and helped oversee the company until he disposed of it in 1946. He served as a member of the Michigan State Senate from 1945- 1950 and was elected Lieutenant Governor for one term in 1951.
John W. Connolly, Democrat
John W. Connolly, a Democrat from Detroit, was born in Detroit on July 4, 1911. In 1937, Connolly graduated from Georgetown University Law School; one year later he was admitted to practice law in Michigan. He worked as a lawyer before joining the United States Naval Reserve in 1942. When he was discharged in 1946, Connolly had earned the ranking of Senior Grade Lieutenant with an unlimited tonnage pilot’s license. He returned to his law practice in 1946 and was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1949, serving one term at the position.
Eugene C. Keyes, Republican
1947-1948 and 1943-1944
Eugene C. Keyes, a Republican from Dearborn, was born on August 23, 1900. Keyes received a degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery from Royal College of Dental Surgeons in 1921, his degree of Doctor of Medicine from Wayne State University in 1930, and his law degree from Detroit College of Law in 1935. Keyes served as a City Councilman and County Supervisor in Dearborn before serving as Lieutenant Governor from 1943-1944 and 1947-1948.
Vernon J. Brown, Republican
Vernon J. Brown, a Republican from Mason, was born on March 20, 1874 in Ingham County. Brown worked as a farmer and retailer before being elected County Clerk in 1918; he held the post for two terms. In 1929 Brown was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives, in which he remained for five terms. He was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1944, a post he held for one term.
Frank Murphy, Democrat
Frank Murphy, a Democrat from Detroit, was born in New York on May 15, 1897. In 1920 Murphy moved to Detroit to attend the law school at University of Detroit. He proceeded to work as a lawyer, tax consultant, and field auditor for the sales tax department. Murphy was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1940 and served one term.
Matilda R. Wilson, Republican
Matilda R. Wilson, a Republican from Rochester, Michigan, was born in Walkerton, Ontario. Wilson was president of the Women’s Auxiliary to the Salvation Army for two decades and served as an alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention from Michigan. In 1957 Wilson donated her family’s estate, Meadow Brook Hall, to Michigan State University as well as two million dollars to help found Oakland University. She was appointed Lieutenant Governor in 1940 and served for one year.
Luren D. Dickinson, Republican
1939, 1927-1932, 1915-1920
Luren D. Dickinson, a Republican from Charlotte, Michigan, was born in New York on April 15, 1859. He moved to Michigan with his family in 1860. Dickinson taught in local public schools for nineteen years and also served at one point as principal of Potterville High School. As well as serving on many local boards and commissions, Dickinson served his district as a State Representative from 1897-1898 and 1905-1908 and as a State Senator from 1809-1810. In 1915 he was elected Lieutenant Governor, and was re- elected three times until 1820. He was elected again in 1927, serving until 1932, and in 1938. With Governor Fitzgerald’s death in 1939, Dickinson served as Governor for a short time.
Leo J. Nowicki, Democrat
Leo J. Nowicki, a Democrat from Detroit, was born in Poland on February 17, 1904. His family moved to Michigan when Nowicki was two years old. He graduated from University of Michigan with a degree in engineering in 1925 and actively practiced in this field from then on, including serving as Drain Commissioner in Wayne County from 1932-1936. In 1936, Nowicki was elected Lieutenant Governor, a position he held for 2 years.
Thomas Read, Republican
Thomas Read, a Republican from Shelby, was born in Rochester, New York on May 28, 1881. He attended Ferris Institute and University of Michigan, graduating from the latter with his law degree in 1913. Read served as Shelby township clerk and as a member of the Michigan House of Representatives from 1915-1920. From 1919 to 1920, he served as Speaker of the House. Read was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1920 and re- elected in 1922, serving until 1924. He was elected again in 1934, serving until 1936.
Allen E. Stebbins, Democrat
Allen E. Stebbins, a Democrat from Ionia County, was born in Ionia on December 8, 1872. He owned and operated a farm for several years and then joined the undertaking business. He was president of the school board in Sheridan, as well as a member of the village council in the same town. Stebbins served as Mayor of Ionia for two years before being elected Lieutenant Governor in 1832, a position he held for two years.
George W. Welsh, Republican
George W. Welsh, a Republican from Grand Rapids, was born in Glasgow, Scotland on March 27, 1883. His family moved to Grand Rapids when Welsh was eight years old. He worked for several magazines and other publications, including the Grand Rapids Press, The Fruit Belt magazine, and the Grand Rapids Chronicle. In 1916, Welsh as elected to the Michigan House of Representatives, where he served 4 terms. He was elected Speaker of the House in 1923 and Lieutenant Governor in 1925. He served until 1926.
John Q. Ross, Republican
John Q. Ross, a Republican from Muskegon, Michigan was born on June 28, 1873 in Jamestown, Ohio. He moved to Muskegon to study law and practiced in that field for most of his life. Ross served as a member of the Muskegon Chamber of Commerce, acting as president in 1909. He also served as the first president of the Western Michigan Development Company. In 1910 Ross was elected Lieutenant Governor, a post to which he was re- elected in 1912.
Patrick H. Kelley, Republican
Patrick H. Kelley, a Republican from Lansing, was born on October 7, 1867 in Cass City, Michigan. After attending college at Michigan State Normal, he held jobs as principal and superintendent at several school districts before receiving his law degree from University of Michigan in 1900. Kelley was appointed to the State Board of Education in 1901 and three years later was elected Superintendent of Public Instruction.
In 1906, he was elected Lieutenant Governor, a post to which he was re- elected in 1908.
Alexander Maitland, Republican
Alexander Maitland, a Republican from Negaunee, was born in Scotland on June 20, 1844. He came to America in 1864, establishing residence in Negaunee. He worked for Chicago and Northwestern Railroad before becoming General Manager of the Iron Cliffs Company. He also served as supervisor for the Cambria and Little Mines and as General Manager of the mining division of the Republic Iron and Steel Company. Maitland began his career in public service as County Surveyor and also served as mayor of Negaunee before being elected to his district’s State Senate seat. He was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1902 and re- elected in 1904.
Orrin W. Robinson, Republican
Orrin W. Robinson, a Republican from Chassell, Houghton County, was born on August 12, 1834 in Claremont, New Hampshire. He lived briefly in Ontonagon, Michigan and Iowa before moving to Hancock, Houghton County in 1862. There he worked for 12 years as a shipping and receiving clerk for the Quincy mine. In 1873 he organized the Sturgeon River Lumber Company, which he continued to serve as superintendent of during his time in public office. Robinson served as a delegate to the National Convention in 1892, served in the State House of Representatives from 1895-1896, was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1899 and re- elected in 1901.
Thomas B. Dunstan, Republican
Joseph R. McLaughlin, Republican
Alfred Milnes, Republican
J. Wight Giddings, Republican
John Strong, Democrat
William Ball, Republican
James H. MacDonald, Republican
Archibald Buttars, Republican
Moreau S. Crosby, Republican
Alonzo Sessions, Republican
Henry H. Holt, Republican
Morgan Bates, Republican
Dwight May, Republican
Ebenezer O. Grosvenor, Republican
Charles S. May, Republican
Henry T. Backus, Republican
Joseph R. Williams, Republican
James Birney, Republican
Edmund B. Fairfield, Republican
George Coe, Republican
George Griswold, Democrat
Andrew Parsons, Democrat
Calvin Britain, Democrat
William M. Fenton, Democrat
Charles P. Bush, Democrat
William L. Greenly, Democrat
Origen D. Richardson, Democrat
Thomas J. Drake, Whig
James Wright Gordon, Whig
Edward Mundy, Democrat
 Following vacancy created in the office of lieutenant governor, elected president pro tem of the senate to perform lieutenant governor’s duties as president of the senate.
 Resigned May 31, 1895 to become U.S. representative to Congress.
 Died January 19, 1889.
 Following vacancy created in the office of lieutenant governor, elected president pro tem of the senate to perform lieutenant governor’s duties as president of the senate; died 1861.
 Resigned April 3, 1861.
 Became acting governor upon resignation of Robert McClelland, March 8, 1853.
 Elected to one-year term only in 1851.
 Became acting governor upon resignation of Alpheus Felch, March 4, 1847.
 Became acting governor upon resignation of William Woodbridge, February 24, 1841.