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May 13, 1994 - Image 62

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-05-13

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Th e P o litical Ani



Maxine Berman's first book will be on the shelves in January.


ana Pollack never had politi-
cal aspirations. As a young
woman, she anticipated her
role would be to take care of a
family and maintain a house.
She got her teaching certifi-
cate just in case she had to work.
Sometimes, things don't work out
as planned.
Ms. Pollack has been in the public
eye since she was elected to the state
Senate in 1982.
Like Sen. Pollack, of Ann Arbor,
Michigan's six other Jewish politicians
in Lansing and Washington, D.C., did
not originally aspire to be in political
office. But circumstances in each of
their lives became catalysts for a
career in politics.
This group of lawmakers, who have
spent a combined total of 106 years in
office, all feel a connection to their Jew-
ish roots. They are all Democrats, with
the exception of David Honigman, the
lone Republican. And they all have
their own stories to tell.
Jack Faxon was a Detroit gov-

We know what
Michigan's Jewish
lawmakers say,
but who are they?

ernment teacher
whose students
helped him get
elected to the
Michigan House of
Representatives in
1964. Once in office, he founded and
is still headmaster of a private school
in Beverly Hills, Mich. In addition,
he has performed with the Michigan
Opera Theatre and the Detroit Sym-
phony Orchestra.
Outside the world of politics, Sen.
Faxon spends a lot of his time at his
International School, an education-
al institute that incorporates lan-
guage immersion in its curriculum.
He knows the names of all 80 stu-
dents, and they all know him. When
Sen. Faxon walks into the eighth-
grade class, students stand up and,
in unison, greet him.
"No matter what happens in poli-
tics, I know I can still continue to
spend my time at school with these
kids," he said.
Sen. Faxon, 57, speaks French, Jack Faxon: Thirty years in the Legislature.

she joined Jimmy Carter's presiden-
tial campaign.
Next month she will publish her
first book, an account of what it is like
to be a woman in the Legislature.
When Rep. Berman, of Southfield,
steps out of her political role, she
spends her time writing. For her
vacation, usually in the Caribbean,
she takes six or seven books and
relaxes on the beach. Her political
plunge came while she was looking for
an outlet for her energy.
"I was getting bored with teaching
and an election year was coming up.
I researched the candidates and
thought Carter had a good chance of
winning. I never got involved because
I wanted to be in office. I really liked
working on the campaigns."
When a seat in Southfield opened
up, Rep. Berman was working with a
cable company. People started calling
and asking her to run.
"It was a hard decision," she said.
"I spent three months trying to figure
out what I was going to do. It was a


German, Yiddish and some Spanish
and Russian.
His first step into politics came
co when he served as a precinct delegate.
In 1961, he was a delegate at the
Michigan Constitutional Convention
and unsuccessfully ran for a seat in
the House the following year. He was,
however, successful in the next elec-
Then, in 1982, redistricting caused
him to leave Detroit for Oakland
County, where he ran for the state
"Many of the people I was repre-
senting in the city moved to the
suburbs," he said.
Rep. Maxine Berman's legislative
career has been spent representing
constituents in the suburbs.
Rep. Berman was an Oak Park
High School English teacher before
she ran for an open state-repre-
sentative seat in 1982. Her involve-
ment with politics
began almost 20
years ago, when

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