2009/04/17:WisPolitics.com: Former lawmaker Midge Miller dies at 86

Former lawmaker Midge Miller dies at 86

Midge Miller, a former Democratic lawmaker and mother of Sen. Mark Miller of Monona, passed away Friday at age 86.

Miller, of Madison, represented the city’s west side in the state Assembly from 1971-1983, and played an integral part in state Democratic politics for decades. She was an influential voice in the presidential run of former Minnesota Sen. Eugene McCarthy in 1968, and was instrumental in the Legislature for, among other accomplishments, introducing the state’s Equal Rights Amendment.

DPW Chairman Joe Wineke said in a statement that, “to say that she will be dearly missed is an understatement.” The party recently honored Miller as one of its Grand Dames at the grand opening fundraiser for its new state headquarters.

“Midge was a relentless crusader for civil rights, the environment, education, clean government, peace and countless other causes dear to the hearts of Democrats,” Wineke said. “She is a true pillar of the Democratic Party and her legacy will remain with us forever.”

Gov. Doyle called Miller “one of our greatest citizens” in a statement.

“Not a minute of her life went by when she wasn't trying to help other people,” Doyle said. “We will miss her deeply.”

U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Middleton, echoed those sentiments, calling Miller "a role model and a treasured colleague when I served in the Wisconsin State legislature."

Sen. Miller, who joined the Legislature in 1999 and serves as Senate co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee, told WisPolitics in 2007 that he learned from his mother “how personal integrity and honesty influence people around you to adopt the same goals.”

"She's one of the very iconic and well-known names in Wisconsin political history,” Miller said at the time, noting that Midge would occasionally still drop by his office to “tell me what I’m doing wrong.”

See more on Miller from The Capital Times' John Nichols.