Politician and democrat who became the United States Senator for Michigan in 2001. She also served in the Michigan House of Representatives from 1979 to 1990, where she was the first woman to preside over the House.
She graduated from Michigan State University in 1972 and worked as a social worker prior to entering politics.
She became the Chairwoman of the integral Senate Agriculture Committee in 2011.
She divorced her husband Tom Athans in 2010.
She and athlete Keith Appling both graduated from Michigan State University.