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Gov. Whitmer, politicians pay tribute to former governor William Milliken

Michigan's longest-serving governor died Friday at age 97.

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph and politicians from both parties pay tribute to former Governor William G. Milliken, who died Friday. 

He was Michigan's longest-serving governor. The republican died at age 97 at his home in Traverse City. 

Gov. Whitmer

“Governor Milliken was a true statesman who led our state with integrity and honor. He had a unique ability to bring people from both sides of the aisle together for the betterment of Michigan. We are a stronger, safer, more sustainable state because of his leadership and dedication to the people who call it home. I’ve always looked up to Governor Milliken as a trusted, respected leader and I’m proud to have called him a friend of the family. I extend my deepest and most heartfelt condolences to Governor Milliken’s family for their loss. May we all continue to learn from his lifetime of service as we work together to build a stronger Michigan for everyone.”

Friday, Gov. Whitmer ordered U.S. and Michigan flags at the State Capitol Complex and public buildings throughout the state to be lowered to half-staff immediately, until Nov. 1 to honor each year Milliken served in office. However, those details have not yet been released. 

Michigan Republican Party Chairman Laura Cox

"Bill Milliken deeply appreciated Michigan, leading our state with distinction for nearly a generation. His time as Governor will be remembered for the kindness and civility he brought to his office. Our prayers are with Bill's friends and family as they celebrate Bill Milliken's remarkable life."

Rep. Upton 

“Gov. Milliken was a friend, always. He encouraged me on many fronts and led a life with no regrets. His infectious smile charmed and disarmed all who knew him, and his bipartisan style served as a role model of days gone by and certainly needed today!”

Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield

“Governor Milliken has been the standard bearer for leadership and bipartisanship for the past 50 years. Everyone who comes to the Capitol trying to make a difference and help improve our state aspires to live up to the standard he set and the example he gave as our governor. We all feel his loss, but we will also remember the life he lived and his service to the people of Michigan.”

Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow 

“Governor Bill Milliken was one of the most amazing public servants I’ve ever worked with. He set the bar for integrity, dedication, and kindness. His passion for Michigan and our Great Lakes was unsurpassed. I was honored to call him my friend.”

Democratic Sen. Gary Peters

“Governor Milliken’s proud record of bipartisan problem-solving, exemplary public service and love for the Great Lakes defined a Michigan era, and his legacy will continue to inspire Michiganders for generations to come. Like so many, I sought his counsel and I was always grateful for his advice and support. Colleen and I send our deepest sympathies to the Milliken family; the entire State of Michigan mourns with you today.”

Attorney General Dana Nessel

"Gov. Milliken had an innate ability to bring people together. He was a man who understood diplomacy and the importance of bipartisanship. Michigan is a stronger state because of his leadership and ability to reach across the aisle to make the lives of our residents better. His lifetime of service was appreciated by all who knew him. I extend my heart-felt condolences to his family – their loss is Michigan’s loss."

Milliken was promoted to governor from lieutenant governor in 1969 and won the following three elections, but he didn't run again in 1982 and retired after 14 years serving as Michigan's governor. 

RELATED: Former Michigan Gov. William Milliken dies at age 97

The Associated Press contributed to this reporting. 

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