The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - September 8, 1998 - 7F
Schroer not afraid to speak her
By Jeffrey Kosseff
Daily News Editor
Like the thousands of students
who will graduate from the
University this year, Mary Schroer is
preparing to update her resume.
"I'm learning all the new buzz-
words that will make me mar-
ketable," Schroer said.
But unlike the future graduates,
Schroer (D-Ann Arbor) is searching
for a job because she is finishing up
l a six-year stint as a congressional
state representative for Ann Arbor.
But because of term limits passed
two years ago. Schroer cannot seek a
fourth two-year term representing
the North Campus area of Ann
Term limits are unnecessary in
state government, Schroer said,
because there is a high turnover rate
of representatives and senators.
"I just don't agree with them in
principle," Schroer said.
While many legislators are elected
through political connections,
Schroer, worked a long time to be
elected into the state legislature.
Schroer, an Ohio native, moved to
Ann Arbor after high school.
'he attended Washtenaw
Community College and Eastern
Michigan University, but was not
able to graduate because she gave
birth to twins when she was 20.
Presently, Schroer has been mar-
ried for 30 years and has three
daughters in their late 20s and one
And it was through her kids that
y the political connection blossomed.
Schroer became involved in poli-
tics through education. She was
active in the Ann Arbor Parents and
MARGARET MYERS/Daily Teachers Organization when her
North Campus falls within state Rep. Mary Schroer's district, an area she has represented for three two-year terms. The Lurie daughters were in school, which
Tower is one of the enduring symbols of North Campus which is well-known for computer technology. sparked her political interests.
From there, she worked as legisla-
Srater maintains affini for 'U' issues
in Lansing despite Pennsylvania roots
Despite re-election bid on the horizon, next term would be her last in House
yen on the way out
tive aide to former state Sen. Lana
In 1992, Schroer ran for state rep-
resentative and won, and was re-
Although Schroer represents half
of Ann Arbor, she said she also views
herself as a representative of the
"It's an important part of my con-
stituency," Schroer said. The
University "has been important for
the economic development in the
As a member of the House
Appropriations Committee, which
works to develop the annual budget
for all state eniities, Schroer has
been a vocal opponent of Gov. John
Engler's recommended 1.5 percent
increase in state university funding
- an increase which is lower than
the rate of inflation.
"I am very much against it,"
Schroer said. "I truly believe in
properly financing education."
Schroer said tuition hikes are often
caused by inadequate state appropri-
"Tuition has increased because the
state has lowered their share of the
funding," Schroer said. "Some peo-
ple just have to realize that."
Schroer said the low funding for
both public universities and K-12
education is "the biggest problem in
"The attack on public education by
the governor is terrible," she said.
"We know public education is a very
important fabric of our way of life."
Schroer developed legislation last
year that would mandate parenting
education in public schools, but the
bill has not progressed in the legisla-
"People are afraid of it," Schroer
said. "They would rather get tough
on crime than properly educate
young people on parenting skills."
In addition to being an adv\oa~tt
for the University, Schroer has been
an active supporter of helping 4he
Last summer, state Sen. David
Jaye (R-Macomb) proposed a bill
that would fund one-way tickets out
of the state for welfare recipients.
That caused Schroer to canvassttg
House floor, asking representatives
to fund a one-way ticket out of the
state for Jaye.
Schroer is also an advocate of the
University's affirmative action pro-
grams, which have been under attik
by Jaye and three other legislatqr ,
who spearheaded one of two lawsuits
challenging the University's use of
race as a factor in admissions.
"Other people's perception of
affirmative action has been a prob-
lem:' Schroer said.
Although Schroer does not have 'o
worry about campaigning forjq.
election this fall, she is busy bupI10
ing a Political Action Committ~e
fund that will support candidates
who are opposed to concealed
There is support from many sta'
legislators to allow concel l'd'
weapons, and the issue is expected:to
come up for a vote within the Wt
Schroer said she is adamantly
opposed to permitting concealed
"I want the police to protect me
Schroer said. "I don't want to have
protect myself. I'd do a lousy jo1@|
Schroer has been busy workingo'
the House Appropriatiopl
Committee and organizing the C
so she hasn't been able to think about
what she'll do once her term in
"I don't have anything specifi
mind yet," she said.
By Jeffrey Kosseff
Daily News Editor
*Although Liz Brater graduated from the
University of Pennsylvania, she shows her
Wolverine spirit through her work as a state
representative in Lansing.
Brater, a Democrat, represents the central
portion of the University campus community
as well as other areas in Ann Arbor and sur-
She said the University is an important
part of her constituency.
"I pay a lot of attention to issues that affect
the University," said Brater, who is a member
* the House Colleges and Universities
In addition to being its representative in
Lansing, Brater has even closer ties to the
University. Her husband, Enoch, is an
English professor, and she taught introducto-
ry composition at the University before try-
ing her hand at state politics.
"I have always loved teaching," Brater
rater has been a member of the state
ofuse since 1994. She became active in pol-
itics in 1988, when she was elected a city
council member to represent Ann Arbor's
third ward. She ran for council because she
was interested in the issue of historic preser-
13rater held the council seat until 1991,
when she was elected to be Ann Arbor's
mayor. She held the top spot in Ann Arbor's
city 'government for two years.
Her experiences in city government pre-
pared her for Lansing politics, she said. As
council member and mayor, Brater learned
the issues relevant to Ann Arbor citizens.
"The work I did in local government has
been very helpful to me," Brater said.
The lawsuits filed last year challenging the
University's affirmative action programs,
Brater said, should not involve legislators.
The suit filed against the College of
Literature, Science and Arts was spearhead-
ed by four state representatives.
"I'd like the state to stay out of it," Brater
It is important for the University to main-
tain an open dialogue on affirmative action,
"I am impressed with the work President
Bollinger and Provost Cantor have done to
open the discussion on affirmative action,"
Brater is also an advocate of increasing
state funding to public colleges and universi-
"The state share of tuition just has not held
itself up over the years," she said.
While funding for institutions of higher
education comprises one-eighth of the state
budget, Brater said it is unfortunate that pris-
ons also receive 1/8 of state appropriations.
She criticized Gov. John Engler's budget
proposal, which calls for a larger funding
increase to prison systems than to universi-
"His recommendation fell short of the
needs of higher education," Brater said. "It's
unfortunate that he is putting priority to cor-
In the House, Brater has proposed many
environmental initiatives, including estab-
lishing an environmental report card, which
would measure state environmental factors
such as air and water quality.
"I've tried to be a voice for continuing a
strong environmental policy and maintaining
strict standards to prevent pollution," Brater
Because Michigan is the only state sur-
rounded by the Great Lakes, Brater said, its
government has an added responsibility to
ensure clean water.
Brater is in her second term in the state
House, and she said she plans to run for
reelection in November.
If she is re-elected, it will be her last term
due to term limits that go into effect this
Term limits, Brater said, restrict voters'
choices and limit the accomplishments of
legislators by limiting them to six years in
"I think people have the right to choose the
person they want to represent them," Brater
said. "We're losing a lot of expertise."
Campaign finance reform, not term limits,
is the key to reform in Lansing, Brater said.
"Right now there is too much influence
from special interest groups," Brater said.
"In order to change the system, you need
campaign finance reform."
As much as she pleads, House Democrat Liz Brater only will be able to spend one more term in Lansing:
Term limits have made the focus of this year's re-election campaign more intense as it is her last. .
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