Senator Brater was elected to represent the 18th district in the Michigan
Senate in November 2002. She serves as the Vice Chair of Natural Resources
and Environmental Affairs and the Agriculture, Forestry and Tourism.
She also serves on the Finance and Judiciary Committees. She is a member
of the Governor’s Land Use Leadership Council. The 18th district
includes most of Washtenaw County.
Senator Brater is known statewide as a leader on environmental issues.
She is the past Land Use Director of the Ecology Center, where she tackled
the issue of urban sprawl. She has introduced numerous bills designed
to protect the environment, and her colleagues look to her for information
and advice on environmental matters. In recognition of her leadership
in protection of the environment, she was named the Sierra Club Environmentalist
of the Year in 1996.
Liz Brater has also worked on ways to reestablish the mental health
system in Michigan and to make sure that people with mental illness
are in treatment programs, rather than in homeless shelters or jail.
She has received statewide recognition for her work in the mental health
area, including the Michigan Health Association Snyder-Kok Award, Michigan
Alliance for the Mentally Ill Legislator of the Year Award, the Association
of Children’s Mental Health Legislator of the Year Award, Michigan
IAPSRS Phyllis Levine Legislative Advocacy Award, and the Michigan Psychiatric
Society Mental Health Advocate Award.
Senator Brater was elected to the Ann Arbor City Council in 1988, representing
the Third Ward. She became the city’s first woman mayor in 1991
and served as mayor until 1993. During this time, she shepherded the
passage and implementation of the city’s weekly recycling collection
program. She also led the effort to launch the city's materials recovery
facility (MRF), which opened the summer of 1995. As mayor, Senator Brater
also launched a number of initiatives to increase cooperation and understanding
within city government and between the city and other jurisdictions.
Elected to the State House of Representatives in 1994, Brater served
until December 2000, when she was unable to run again because of term
limits. She chaired the Consumer Protection Committee and initiated
an ambitious agenda of consumer protection issues. Working with a broad
coalition of consumer advocates, she held meetings across the state
to foster dialogue with citizens on this legislation.
Senator Brater has lived in Ann Arbor since1975, when her husband, Enoch
Brater, became a professor in the English Department at the University
of Michigan. With Enoch she has raised two children who have graduated
from the Ann Arbor Public Schools. Before entering politics, Liz worked
as a writer and editor and taught writing at the University of Michigan.
She also served as an adjunct lecturer on local government at the University
of Michigan Institute for Public Policy Studies (now the Ford School).
She is a member of numerous organizations, including the Sierra Club,
the Ecology Center, the Washtenaw Land Trust, the NAACP, the Alliance
for the Mentally Ill, and the League of Women Voters.